The Hunger Games

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The Hunger Games Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After the ceremony ends, Peeta and Katniss are marched through the front door of the Justice Building and conducted into separate rooms where they wait for their loved ones to visit and say goodbye. Katniss’s mother and Prim arrive first and wrap Katniss up in a hug. After a few moments, Katniss begins to tell them all the things they must remember to do now that Katniss won’t be there to do them for them. Katniss yells at her mother, making her promise not to go away again like she did after Katniss’s father died. Prim makes Katniss promise that she’ll try really hard to win, and then time is up, and Peacekeepers are escorting Prim and her mother out the door as they all repeat, “I love you.”
Even as Katniss is being ripped away from her family she does what she can to try to keep it together. She has sacrificed herself for their sake, and wants to make sure that they survive without her. At the same time, she draws strength from her family. Other tributes will try to win for themselves, to survive. Katniss promises that she'll try to win for Prim. Love motivates her.
Themes
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
Next, Katniss is surprised to see Peeta Mellark’s father, the baker, enter the room. He doesn’t speak much, but he hands her a package of cookies, a luxury that Katniss’s family can usually never afford. As he leaves, he tells Katniss that he’ll keep an eye on Prim and make sure she’s eating.
Katniss is touched because the baker promises to keep an eye on Prim. He also hands her cookies, and the fact that they’re a luxury she could never afford before showcases how different the lives of the merchant class and the rest of the population can be.
Themes
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
Societal Inequality Theme Icon
After Peeta’s father, Madge steps into the room. She urges Katniss to accept a circular gold pin with a bird on it as her token to wear in the arena. Madge makes Katniss promise to wear it, and Katniss agrees. Madge gives her a quick kiss on the cheek before she leaves.
Katniss continues to discover that she’s made more connections in District 12 than she realized. Madge, for example, seems to think of Katniss as her friend, despite their class differences.
Themes
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
Finally, Gale arrives. He wraps Katniss in his arms and instructs her on what to do once she’s in the arena. He tells her she has to get a bow and arrows, or else she has to make her own. Gale says that being in the Games is just like hunting, and Katniss is the best hunter he knows. Katniss starts to protest, but she realizes that it wouldn’t be different at all if she could just forget that she’s hunting people.
Although Gale and Katniss have never acknowledged how close they are before, the fact that they now have limited time together pushes them to drop some of their pretenses—which is why Katniss doesn’t hesitate to embrace Gale when he enters the room.
Themes
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
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As Gale is dragged out by the Peacekeepers, he promises that he won’t let Katniss’s family starve. Katniss is taken to the train station, where reporters are swarming with their cameras. Katniss notices that Peeta’s face bears visible traces of tears, and she wonders if appearing weak is part of his strategy. After a few minutes, Peeta and Katniss are allowed to board the train, and the train takes off at once.
Katniss is already beginning to adjust to the mindset of the Games, so she doesn’t understand why Peeta would allow himself to appear weak. It’s possible that Peeta doesn’t understand how important appearances are, since he’s lived a generally cushier life and hasn’t had to worry so much about protecting himself.
Themes
Appearances Theme Icon
The speed of the train takes Katniss’s breath away—it can travel at 250 miles an hour. The train is also incredibly fancy, and Katniss and Peeta both get their own chambers that include a bedroom, a dressing area, and a private bathroom with hot and cold running water. Katniss takes her first shower—like summer rain, only warmer—and gets dressed in the clothes provided in their drawers. She remembers Madge’s pin and takes a good look at it for the first time, realizing that the bird depicted on it is a mockingjay.
The luxurious facilities in the train underline how big the wealth gap must be in Panem. Katniss has never had enough running water to take a shower, and if she had wanted hot water in District 12, she would have had to boil it herself.
Themes
Societal Inequality Theme Icon
Mockingjays are something of a slap in the face to the Capitol. During the rebellion, the Capitol bred a series of genetically altered animals as weapons, called muttations. Among them was a bird called a jabberjay that could memorize and repeat conversations, and these were used to spy on the rebels before they realized how the conversations were being transmitted. Afterwards, the districts used the birds to feed the Capitol a bunch of lies, and the birds were abandoned to die off in the wild. Instead of dying off, however, they mated with mockingbirds, and the resulting species could replicate both bird whistles and human melodies. These are known as mockingjays.
Mockingjays are one example of how the Capitol tried to monitor and control the districts during the rebellion. They also demonstrate how advanced technology must be in the Capitol, since they can genetically alter animals. The differences in technology and supplies likely put the districts at a disadvantage during the rebellion. At the same time, the mockingjays symbolize that while the Capitol seeks to exert total control, sometimes that exertion can backfire in surprising ways.
Themes
Division and Control Theme Icon
Societal Inequality Theme Icon
Effie comes to collect Katniss for supper, and they walk into a dining room where Peeta sits waiting. Effie seems relieved by Haymitch’s absence. The meal arrives in courses, and Katniss stuffs herself because it’s the first time she’s had so much good food before her. Effie comments that at least Peeta and Katniss have decent table manners, unlike the pair of tributes that came before them. Katniss takes offence at this comment, since she knows—as Effie can’t—that those tributes probably never had enough to eat in their lives. Katniss decides to eat with her hands after that, pointedly wiping her fingers on the tablecloth.
Effie can’t comprehend the reasons behind bad table manners. She lacks the experience and the information necessary to have empathy for those who have grown up hungry, so she can't understand that for some just easting is more important than showing good manners, and so she comes off as extremely callous.
Themes
Societal Inequality Theme Icon
After the meal, Peeta and Katniss go to another compartment to watch a recap of the reapings across Panem. A few stand out to Katniss. There’s a boy who volunteers in District 2, a fox-faced girl from District 5, and most upsettingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11 who reminds Katniss of Prim. No one volunteers for this girl, however. Then the recap of the reaping in District 12 arrives, and Effie comments that their mentor could learn a lot about televised behavior, a comment which strikes Peeta and Katniss as funny.
For Effie, as for others in the Capitol, appearances are very important. She’s embarrassed by the way Haymitch presents himself on TV because she feels that his actions reflect badly on her as well. Peeta and Katniss find this kind of focus on presentation funny because it’s so trivial to them—they don’t come from a place where it’s that important to present yourself with poise. They worry more about getting enough to eat.
Themes
Societal Inequality Theme Icon
Appearances Theme Icon
They remind Effie that Haymitch was drunk, as he always is—his behavior doesn’t just amount to rough manners. Effie snaps that their mentor is their lifeline to the world during the Games and that they should be the last ones laughing at his drunken behavior. As if on cue, Haymitch staggers into the compartment and vomits all over the carpet before falling into the mess. Effie flees the room.
Effie reminds Peeta and Katniss that appearances can be important for what they signify—in this case, Haymitch’s carelessness and alcoholism, which should be cause for Peeta and Katniss to worry.
Themes
Appearances Theme Icon