The next morning, Katniss wakes up, thinking of Peeta. Then, she realizes that she’ll probably be dead by the end of the day. Her only goal is to keep Peeta alive and help him win the competition. She eats some of the rolls the parachute sent the group yesterday, and for some reason she finds it difficult to make eye contact with Peeta.
Katniss’s harsh realism about her own death comes shortly after her kiss with Peeta and her thoughts about overthrowing the government. In short, Katniss’s desire for a better future paradoxically accompanies her acceptance of the fact that she has no future.
Peeta tells Katniss that Beetee is constructing a trap for Brutus and Enobaria. Beetee reveals his plan to the group. As he explains himself, Katniss remembers that Beetee is far cleverer than the other tributes. Beetee plans to harness the lightning Katniss and Finnick encountered two days ago. Using his long, thin wire—which he claims he invented—he will connect the wet, salty beach to a place where the lightning strikes. Thus, he’ll lure the remaining tributes onto the beach and electrocute them. The rest of the group has doubts about the plausibility of Beetee’s plan, but they’re not clever enough to come up with an alternative.
We sense that Beetee can’t really be trusted. As frightening as this may be for Katniss, and for us, it’s refreshing to see that the intelligent, resourceful victors are just as dangerous as the strong, physically skilled ones. Beetee’s wire could kill all the competitors on the island, regardless of their strength or speed.
The group walks toward the lightning zone. Finnick mentions that Katniss can hear force fields. Even though Beetee taught Katniss how to spot force fields, he doesn’t question this claim. In the lightning zone, they find a tree that seems to have been struck by lightning repeatedly. While Beetee examines the tree, Katniss catches tree rats and cooks them by throwing them at the force field. Beetee connects wire to the tree and “works with it.” He tells the others that they can go back to the shore, and they do so.
It’s a little odd that Katniss and the other members of the group accept Beetee’s command that they walk back to the beach. This seems like a huge tactical error, since it gives Beetee unlimited control over his most important, personalized weapon: his wire. Collins again reminds us that experience and intelligence can be just as powerful as youth and physical stamina.
Knowing that the force of electricity will probably kill off all life in the surrounding water, the group decides to fish for as much seafood as possible. They have a feast of oysters and fish, and additionally, a parachute arrives carrying more pieces of bread. Katniss eats her meal, trying unsuccessfully to avoid thinking about her impending doom.
Katniss’s seafood feast is something of a “last meal” for her, since she’s essentially accepted that she’s about to die. The end of this chapter isn’t a cliffhanger like many of the other chapter endings in the novel. It’s actually the opposite—a moment of peace and silence, a “calm before the storm.”