Peeta and Katniss realize that Effie is right about Haymitch as their mentor. They decide to help him to his feet and get him cleaned up. Once they get Haymitch back to his compartment, Peeta offers to do the rest of the cleanup, and Katniss accepts his offer. Afterwards, however, Katniss wonders about Peeta’s motivations for being so nice, and she decides that it’s because he’s being kind—a thought that worries her because kind people have a way of working themselves inside her. She vows not to have any more to do with Peeta and tosses his father’s cookies out of the train compartment.
Katniss recognizes the danger of kind people. She knows that Peeta’s power lies in his ability to win others over, but there’s no room for compassion in the Hunger Games arena, so she chooses to distance herself from Peeta rather than risk becoming sentimental. At the same time, the fact that Katniss is both determined and self-sufficient and can be affected by those who are kind turns out to be her great strength, as her fierce love and loyalty creates bonds between others.
Unfortunately, the cookies land and explode in a patch of dandelions, which reminds Katniss again of the time that Peeta helped save her family from starvation. On that day, Katniss brought Prim with her into the Meadow where they picked a bucket full of dandelion greens, stems, and flowers. That night, they had a dinner of dandelion salad and the rest of the bakery bread. Prim and Katniss began poring through a book from their mother’s apothecary shop, looking for edible plants and flowers. Finally, Katniss worked up the courage to wander into the woods, where she had never been without her father. She retrieved her bow and arrows and stayed by the edge of the woods, where she had the good luck to kill a rabbit.
However, Katniss is unable to forget the fact that Peeta has already saved her once before. The reason that she’s had enough to eat and that she’s so skilled with a bow and arrow is that Peeta tossed her some bread years ago—it’s a debt she’ll never be able to repay.
Eventually, Katniss wandered deeper and deeper into the woods, finding food to keep her family alive. Soon, on her twelfth birthday, Katniss was also eligible to sign up for tesserae, and she brought home batches of grain and oil with it. One day, late that summer, Katniss was washing up in a pond when she noticed the plants growing around her. She dug out their roots, recognizing them as the plants that she had been named for. That night, Katniss’s family feasted on fish and katniss roots until everyone was full for the first time in months. Katniss’s mother eventually recovered as well, but Katniss was never able to fully trust her again.
Katniss is able to hunt, which means that her family is probably better off than most. However, she’s still forced to sign up for tesserae in order to feed her family of three—showing how dire the food situation must be for families that don’t have another means of getting food.
Katniss feels homesick as she thinks of her family, wondering what they might’ve had for dinner. As Katniss gets into bed, it occurs to her that now would be the best time to cry—no cameras surround her for the moment—but she feels too numb to cry and instead drifts off to sleep.
Katniss is constantly aware that she cannot let down her guard. Even in the rare moments when she believes she isn’t being watched, it’s hard for her to relax, since she’s holding back her emotions the rest of the time.
Effie’s voice wakes Katniss in the morning, and she dresses, deciding to keep her hair in the braids her mother did. When Katniss arrives in the dining car, Effie is leaving in an angry huff, and Haymitch gestures for Katniss to sit down. She eats her fill of breakfast food and hot chocolate before settling back to observe Haymitch, who is thinning his red juice with alcohol.
Each time they have a meal, Katniss and Peeta stuff themselves because they aren’t used to having so much good food before them. Katniss worries about eating her fill before she turns her attention to other issues—like Haymitch.
Katniss realizes she detests Haymitch, believing that he’s part of the reason District 12 tributes never stand a chance. Haymitch is unlikely to draw sponsors on their behalf, since the rich people who sponsor tributes expect to have someone classier than Haymitch to deal with.
Katniss is coming to realize how important appearances are to rich people. She realizes that one of the reasons District 12 is at a disadvantage is that Haymitch isn’t classy enough to network effectively with rich sponsors.
Katniss asks Haymitch for advice, and his response is, “Stay alive.” Then he laughs. Peeta responds aggressively, knocking the glass out of Haymitch’s hand, and Haymitch responds by punching Peeta in the jaw. When Haymitch reaches again for his alcohol, Katniss drives her knife into the table between Haymitch’s hand and the bottle, barely missing his fingers.
Katniss and Peeta are enraged by Haymitch’s advice because he’s supposed to be their mentor and lifeline through the Games, yet he approaches the situation like it’s a big joke.
The action seems to finally get Haymitch’s attention. He advises Peeta to let his bruised jaw show to make him seem tougher and asks Katniss whether she can hit anything else with her knife. As a demonstration, Katniss throws her knife into the wall across the room, where it lodges into a seam between two panels, making her look a lot better with a knife than she really is.
Haymitch and Katniss both demonstrate, again, that they understand the value of creating an appearance. Haymitch tells Peeta that he’ll appear tougher with a bruise, and Katniss knows that her knife demonstration is her chance to make an impression on Haymitch.
Haymitch makes a deal with Peeta and Katniss. He says that he’ll remain sober enough to help them as long as they don’t interfere with his drinking. His first piece of advice is not to resist the choices of the stylists. As Haymitch leaves the compartment, the train pulls into the Capitol, and Peeta and Katniss rush to the window to see what they’ve only seen on television before. The Capitol’s wealth is obvious from the splendor of the buildings. As their train passes by, people wave, and Peeta waves back. When Katniss looks at him, he shrugs and says that one of the people below might be rich, which makes Katniss believe that Peeta has been forming a strategy to stay alive all along and isn’t to be trusted.
It’s impossible for Peeta and Katniss not to gawk at the Capitol’s wealth. It’s completely different from the poverty they’ve known all their lives. Katniss believes that she’s underestimated Peeta, since his waving seems so calculated. He’s aware of how important it is to remain poised and likable in front of the audience.