The Hunger Games

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Haymitch Abernathy Character Analysis

Haymitch is the only surviving winner of the Hunger Games from District 12, which makes him the mentor for Peeta and Katniss. He’s constantly drunk, only sobering up after Peeta and Katniss aggressively ask him to be a proper mentor. Nonetheless, Haymitch is also extremely smart and sly, and he and Katniss seem to be able to understand each other’s stratagems.

Haymitch Abernathy Quotes in The Hunger Games

The The Hunger Games quotes below are all either spoken by Haymitch Abernathy or refer to Haymitch Abernathy. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Division and Control Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scholastic Press edition of The Hunger Games published in 2010.
Chapter 4 Quotes

I realize I detest Haymitch. No wonder the District 12 tributes never stand a chance. It isn’t just that we’ve been underfed and lack training. Some of our tributes have still been strong enough to make a go of it. But we rarely get sponsors and he’s a big part of the reason why. The rich people who back tributes—either because they’re betting on them or simply for the bragging rights of picking a winner—expect someone classier than Haymitch to deal with.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Haymitch Abernathy
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

As Katniss and Peeta prepare to compete in the Hunger Games, they spend more time with Haymitch. Haymitch is a former Hunger Games victor whose job is to train future competitors his district, 12. In spite of his prowess in the Games, Haymitch is portrayed as a lazy alcoholic, often too intoxicated to speak or walk straight. Katniss realizes that District 12 never has any sponsors--i.e., rich people who send food and supplies to competitors in the game--because rich people don't like Haymitch, and therefore they dislike the competitors he's training.

Katniss's realization reinforces the vast inequalities in Panem--inequalities which "snowball" over time. Because of the inequalities between poor districts like 12 and rich districts like 2, victors from District 12 tend to be gruff and unlikable. Over time, the lack of charisma in District 12 victors results in fewer sponsorships from the wealthy, and therefore fewer victors from District 12--and thus less prestige for District 12 overall. The deck is stacked against District 12 in every way: economics virtually ensures that it will remain poor for years.

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Chapter 6 Quotes

Rebellion? I have to think about that one a moment. But when I remember the other couples, standing stiffly apart, never touching or acknowledging each other, as if their fellow tribute did not exist, as if the Games had already begun, I know what Haymitch means. Presenting ourselves not as adversaries but as friends has distinguished us as much as the fiery costumes.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Peeta Mellark, Haymitch Abernathy
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

During the Hunger Games opening ceremony, Katniss and Peeta hold hands in front of an audience of millions. Neither Katniss nor Peeta understand why their actions are interpreted as being so rebellious, but they are. As Haymitch explains to them in the quotation, Katniss and Peeta send a clear message by holding hands. The entire point of the Hunger Games is to turn similar people against one another: the children of one district against the children of another, and eventually, competitors from the same district against each other. By holding hands, Peeta and Katniss send a clear message: the Hunger Games have begun, but they're not playing along. Instead of competing against one another, they're going to work together.

Haymitch's explanation establishes the idea that gestures and tiny actions can have enormous ramifications for the Games. Since the Hunger Games themselves are a highly symbolic event, even the tiniest disruption in symbolism--such as holding hands--can send a message of disobedience and even outright rebellion against the government of Panem.

Chapter 10 Quotes

“He made you look desirable! And let’s face it, you can use all the help you can get in that department. You were about as romantic as dirt until he said he wanted you. Now they all do. You’re all they’re talking about. The star-crossed lovers from District Twelve!” says Haymitch.

Related Characters: Haymitch Abernathy (speaker), Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Haymitch sums up the "public relations" side of the Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta, thanks largely to Peeta's confession that he has a crush on Katniss, are now perceived as lovers. As Haymitch rightly points out, Peeta's confession (whether it's true or false) has accomplished a lot for Katniss. By giving the audiences of the Hunger Games a juicy story, Peeta has ensured that rich sponsors will send both District 12 competitors lots of food and supplies, while also ensuring that the organizers of the Hunger Games will design the competitions to keep Peet and Katniss alive for as long as their "story" remains interesting.

On a more general level, Peeta and Katniss's "romance" is crucial for the Hunger Games because it allows the audience to see the competitors as human beings, not animals being sent to the slaughter. With Katniss and Peeta engaged in the most relatable, human thing imaginable--love--it's increasingly difficult for the audience to enjoy the bloodshed and violence of the Games.

Chapter 26 Quotes

“Listen up. You’re in trouble. Word is the Capitol’s furious about you showing them up in the arena. The one thing they can’t stand is being laughed at, and they’re the joke of Panem,” says Haymitch.

Related Characters: Haymitch Abernathy (speaker), Katniss Everdeen
Page Number: 350
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta manage to become the first co-champions of the Games. Instead of playing along with the "kill or be killed" philosophy of the Hunger Games, they agree to commit suicide together, forcing the Gamemakers to declare them both champions (the Gamemakers know that it's better to have two champions than to have none, especially when they're such crowd favorites).

Although Katniss and Peeta have acted out of a desire for survival, as well as love and sympathy for each other, they've unleashed forces far bigger than they could have imagined. By disobeying the rules of the Hunger Games, they've challenged the authority of the Capitol itself. Put a slightly different way, Peeta and Katniss have proven that the Capitol is "enslaved" to the Hunger Games in much the same way that the competitors themselves are. The Capitol is so dependent on the successful completion of the Hunger Games that they have no choice but to submit to Peeta and Katniss's demands.

After a life spent living in the government's tyranny, Katniss has finally found a way to fight back. By keeping up the act of a romance with Peeta, and by gambling that the Capitol would rather have two champions than none, Katniss has saved her life and protected Peeta's life, too.

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Haymitch Abernathy Character Timeline in The Hunger Games

The timeline below shows where the character Haymitch Abernathy appears in The Hunger Games. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Societal Inequality Theme Icon
...two victors, only one of which is still alive. As the mayor reads his name, Haymitch Abernathy drunkenly stumbles onto the stage and gives Effie an unwelcome hug. The mayor quickly... (full context)
Chapter 2
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At this moment, Haymitch staggers across the stage to congratulate Katniss. He gets out only a few words before... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...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... (full context)
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They remind Effie that Haymitch was drunk, as he always is—his behavior doesn’t just amount to rough manners. Effie snaps... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...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... (full context)
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Katniss realizes she detests Haymitch, believing that he’s part of the reason District 12 tributes never stand a chance. Haymitch... (full context)
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Katniss asks Haymitch for advice, and his response is, “Stay alive.” Then he laughs. Peeta responds aggressively, knocking... (full context)
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The action seems to finally get Haymitch’s attention. He advises Peeta to let his bruised jaw show to make him seem tougher... (full context)
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Haymitch makes a deal with Peeta and Katniss. He says that he’ll remain sober enough to... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Katniss follows Haymitch’s advice and doesn’t resist the prep team who prepare her to see her stylist. They... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...emphasizing how they’ve been struggling to overcome the barbarism of their district. However, Effie adds, Haymitch is the only one who can seal sponsor deals for them. (full context)
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...the stylists will be joining them for dinner in order to strategize about the Games. Haymitch also seems to be pulling himself together, appearing as clean-shaven and sober as Katniss has... (full context)
Division and Control Theme Icon
...her head as she hurries away from the table. When Katniss turns back, the four adults—Haymitch, Effie, Cinna, and his partner, Portia—are watching her carefully. Effie says that the girl is... (full context)
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Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
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...the party moves into the sitting room to watch a replay of the opening ceremonies. Haymitch comments that the handholding is the perfect touch of rebellion, which gives Katniss pause. She... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...might be doing back home. She wonders whether the opening ceremony gave them any comfort. Haymitch and Peeta arrive to breakfast soon afterwards as well, and Katniss sees that Peeta is... (full context)
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Haymitch asks them for an assessment of their skills, and Peeta says that he has none.... (full context)
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Haymitch advises Peeta and Katniss to save their special skills for their private sessions with the... (full context)
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...eat lunch together in the same room, and Peeta and Katniss sit together, just like Haymitch ordered. (full context)
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...to station, and she reminds Katniss of Prim. On the District 12 floor, Effie and Haymitch have teamed up to tell Katniss and Peeta what to do, and the result is... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...she begins sobbing, terrified that the Gamemakers will punish her family for her rash behavior. Haymitch and Effie try to fetch Katniss from her room, but she tells them both to... (full context)
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...including Cinna and Portia, and for a while, the adults talk about the weather. Finally, Haymitch announces that there’s been enough small talk and demands to know how bad Peeta and... (full context)
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Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
Appearances Theme Icon
...everyone at the table stops eating. She asks whether her family will be punished, and Haymitch says it’s unlikely, since they’d then have to make the contents of the private training... (full context)
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Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
...night. She gets dressed and heads to the dining room for breakfast, noticing that Effie, Haymitch, and Peeta are talking in hushed tones around the table. When she asks about their... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Appearances Theme Icon
...to smile more and walk in high heels, before she moves on to train with Haymitch for content. Haymitch tries to find an angle for Katniss, but she’s unable to pull... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Appearances Theme Icon
...to say those things about her. When the other doors open and the adults arrive, Haymitch pins Katniss against a wall, telling her that Peeta has done her a favor by... (full context)
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...Peeta and Katniss will enter the arena. Effie actually has tears in her eyes, and Haymitch again repeats his advice to stay alive. When Katniss goes to bed, however, she realizes... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...lies the Cornucopia, a giant golden horn that contains survival tools like tents and weapons. Haymitch had advised Peeta and Katniss to avoid the Cornucopia and instead run for safety, but... (full context)
Chapter 12
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By the next day, Katniss is desperate for water and angry that Haymitch hasn’t sent her any. She believes she must have sponsors who want to send her... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...the morning. When she returns to her spot in the branches below, she discovers that Haymitch has sent her a pot of ointment to treat her burns. The ointment must have... (full context)
Chapter 19
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When Katniss heads outside the cave, she sees that Haymitch has sent another gift—a bowl of broth. It’s a clear message to Katniss to keep... (full context)
Chapter 20
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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... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Peeta wonders what it will take to get Haymitch to send them some bread, and Katniss remembers the previous time Haymitch sent broth—when Katniss... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
Societal Inequality Theme Icon
...ration the rich food so that it doesn’t disturb their stomachs. They talk about how Haymitch will become their neighbor if they win the games and move to Victor’s Village—the part... (full context)
Chapter 26
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
...the hall. Effie’s voice responds instead, and Katniss runs to greet the team, surprisingly hugging Haymitch first. Katniss begins to panic when she notices that Peeta isn’t there, but Haymitch assures... (full context)
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When Haymitch greets Katniss again, he asks to give her a hug before the show begins. While... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...from her. She runs to him, giving him a hug, and he kisses her until Haymitch makes them stop. They sit together on a loveseat, and Katniss cuddles up next to... (full context)
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...Katniss attend a Victory Banquet, smiling and laughing for the cameras while holding hands. Afterwards, Haymitch sends Peeta off without letting Katniss talk to him. Haymitch tells Katniss to go to... (full context)
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...Peeta asks her what’s bothering her, but she replies that it’s nothing. At that moment, Haymitch appears and tells them they’ve been doing a great job and to keep it up.... (full context)