The Hunger Games

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The Hunger Games Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Katniss feeds Peeta the broth, coaxing and kissing until he finishes it and falls asleep. Katniss then allows herself to eat before settling down to keep watch. The night grows cold quickly, however, and she ends up joining Peeta in the sleeping bag, where she discovers that his fever is getting worse. She places damp bandages on his forehead, hoping it will help. Meanwhile, Katniss tries not to dwell on the fact that she’s more vulnerable now that she’s teamed up with Peeta.
Katniss is aware that Peeta is in many ways a burden to her—he’s too weak to travel or hunt, and she must stay with him to protect him. At the same time, she puts his needs first. She makes sure that he eats and rests before she does.
Themes
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
Katniss prepares a berry mush to feed Peeta for breakfast, and Peeta panics to see that she’s gone, worried she’s been attacked by Cato during the night. Katniss laughs at his concern and feeds him the mush. Peeta tells Katniss that she should sleep while he keeps watch, and she reluctantly gives in. When Katniss wakes up hours later, she notices that Peeta’s fever has gotten worse. She checks his leg wound and finds that he has blood poisoning—which will kill him if it goes untreated. The medicine is likely too expensive for sponsors to afford, so she urges Peeta to stay alive until they win—that’s her only hope.
Even though Peeta’s too weak to do very much for Katniss, he still tries to protect her, worrying when she’s out of sight. He also insists that she rests as well. Appearance again ties in with love and loyalty, since both Katniss and Peeta put on a brave face in order to assuage the other’s fears.
Themes
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
Appearances Theme Icon
Katniss goes to prepare a soup and when she checks on Peeta again, he asks her to tell him a happy story. At first, Katniss can only think of good memories that involve Gale, but then she decides to talk about how she bought Prim’s goat. She changes the facts in order to keep her friends from District 12 safe, however. In the real story, she and Gale managed to shoot a young buck and sold it to the butcher for a lot of money—but in the version Katniss tells Peeta, she says that she sold an old locket of her mother’s to get the money. She recalls how she haggled with their market’s Goat Man to buy a goat that was very sick. She brought it home, hoping that Prim and her mother could cure it, and they did.
All of Katniss’s happy stories link back to the people she left behind in District 12, showing how much her memories of them must motivate her in the Games. Her story about Prim’s goat also highlights some of the effects of social inequality. The fact that they could only afford the goat because it was very sick shows how little money they had to spare, even for special occasions like birthdays. And yet, they saved the goat through care and tenderness, suggesting that perhaps the same thing can save them in this situation.
Themes
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
Societal Inequality Theme Icon
Peeta grows progressively worse, and soon the trumpets sound again, announcing a feast at the Cornucopia that will contain something each of the tributes needs desperately. Katniss is sure that Peeta’s medicine will be there, but Peeta forbids her to go, saying that he’ll follow her and shout the entire way, which will get him killed anyway. She finally convinces him to eat something, telling him that she won’t go, but she knows that he won’t make it unless she does.
Peeta and Katniss both demonstrate their willingness to sacrifice for the other—even though sacrifice is opposed to the nature of the Hunger Games. In their loyalty to each other, they’re again defying the Gamemakers, dismantling the cutthroat mechanics of the Games.
Themes
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
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As Katniss heads outside, lost in thought, another parachute arrives from Haymitch. Katniss realizes that it contains sleep syrup, and she mashes it into a berry mush for Peeta. She goes into the cave and tells him that she’s found special berries for him to try, and he eats several spoonsful before he realizes it contains sleep syrup. He attempts to vomit, but it doesn’t work, and he’s soon unconscious. Katniss watches him with a mixture of sadness and satisfaction.
Although Katniss was angry about acting and pretending during her training sessions, she is now the one pretending in order to trick Peeta into taking the sleep syrup. However, she tricks him in order to save his life, so behind her seeming hypocrisy, she’s still doing what she can to protect someone she cares about.
Themes
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
Appearances Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon