Chapter 4 Summary

As the fourth chapter opens, Peeta and Katniss pick Haymitch up from the floor and carry him to a shower. Peeta kindly offers to wash Haymitch and Kat leaves. It seems that Peeta is always quite kind.

That night, Katniss reflects on the early days after her father’s death. During that time, Kat’s mother became depressed and withdrew from her children, all but abandoning them. If not for Kat and her determination to learn to hunt, they likely would have died. Kat recalls how she began to hunt and gather illegally beyond the fenced-off boundaries of her town. Over time, she learned how to sell game and how to barter at the Hub successfully enough that she could afford medication for her mother and food for the three members of her family.

The stark conditions of Kat’s childhood are juxtaposed against the luxury of the Capitol train, which offers Kat a breakfast with enough food to feed her family for weeks. After she and Peeta marvel at things like hot chocolate, they confront Haymitch about his alcoholism. Peeta knocks a drink of spirits from Haymitch’s hand, and the former victor punches Peeta in retaliation. Before he can reach for another drink, Kat throws a knife between his hand and the spirits. Impressed, Haymitch reflects that he may finally have drawn a pair of fighters from District 12 worth mentoring. Haymitch examines Peeta and Kat and makes them a deal: he will help them fight to win if they will allow him to drink. As a compromise, he promises not to drink so much that he will be incapable of helping them. His first piece of advice is to cooperate with the stylists when they arrive at the Capitol.

Their deal is hardly agreed to when the train arrives at the Capitol. Although Katniss is reluctant to look upon the crowds waiting for her, Peeta begins playing to the crowd’s expectations. Kat looks at Peeta and begins to see that Peeta is a very capable of showman. He showed kindness to Kat when he washed Haymitch, he confronted Haymitch to make the victor mentor them, and now he is waving to the crowds in hopes of finding sponsors. Kat reflects that Peeta has already begun trying to win, which means that his kindness is really designed to disarm her.