The Hunger Games

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Katniss Everdeen Character Analysis

Katniss is the sixteen-year-old protagonist of The Hunger Games, and the story is told from her perspective. She is fiercely protective of her family and practical, having learned to care for her mom and little sister, Prim, after their father died in a mining accident when Katniss was just eleven. She’s described as having dark hair, olive skin, and gray eyes, like most of the others who live in the Seam of District 12. Katniss is tough, independent, resourceful, fiery, and skilled with a bow and arrow, and yet she also has a compassionate side and deep loyalty to those she loves. This combination of traits turns out to be dangerous for the Capitol and President Snow, as it inspires others and serves as a catalyst that creates bonds among people, including between districts, threatening the government’s system of division and control.

Katniss Everdeen Quotes in The Hunger Games

The The Hunger Games quotes below are all either spoken by Katniss Everdeen or refer to Katniss Everdeen. 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 1 Quotes

“District Twelve. Where you can starve to death in safety,” I mutter. Then I glance quickly over my shoulder. Even here, even in the middle of nowhere, you worry someone might overhear you.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker)
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist of the novel, lives in District 12--an impoverished part of the nation of Panem. In District 12, the people are isolated and exploited by their government. One of the most important forms of exploitation Katniss notices in her community is surveillance. Because the government of Panem doesn't trust its own people, it watches them at all times, using a huge number of invisible cameras. Katniss has been born and raised in a surveillance state, in which everyone is being watched and recorded.

This passage also brings up the hypocrisy inherent in the Capitol's method of governing—the government promises safety and order, all while subjecting its citizens to starvation.

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Leave? How could I leave Prim, who is the only person in the world I’m certain I love? And Gale is devoted to his family. We can’t leave, so why bother talking about it?

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Gale, Primrose Everdeen
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we're introduced to two key characters, Gale and Prim. Katniss has been friends with Gale for her entire life--they're hunting partners. Prim is Katniss's little sister, whom she adores. Katniss often fantasizes about leaving her home in District 12, since her life there is hard and miserable. But she always comes back to the same facts: she loves Prim (and Gale, who would leave with her, loves his own family) too much to abandon her for her own selfish reasons. Our knowledge that Katniss loves Gale and Prim helps to humanize Katniss: like plenty of young, adventurous people (i.e., the people who would read the book), Katniss daydreams about journeying far away from home, but she's also deeply loyal to her family and friends.

Gale knows his anger at Madge is misdirected. On other days, deep in the woods, I’ve listened to him rant about how the tesserae are just another tool to cause misery in our district. A way to plant hatred between the starving workers of the Seam and those who can generally count on supper and thereby ensure we will never trust one another.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Gale, Madge Undersee
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

In District 12, there's an annual lottery to determine the contestants in the annual Hunger Games. But because of the income inequality in the town, poor children usually end up competing in the Games more often than wealthy children: poor families are incentivized to enter their children in the lottery multiple times in exchange for food (a system called the tesserae).

Katniss insightfully points out that the government of Panem uses the tesserae to maintain its power. By sowing discord between the poor and the (relatively) wealthy in Panem (i.e., the working classes and the middle classes), the government of Panem virtually ensures that there's no strong alliance of citizens against the government's own authority.

I protect Prim in every way I can, but I’m powerless against the reaping. The anguish I always feel when she’s in pain wells up in my chest and threatens to register on my face. I notice her blouse has pulled out of her skirt in the back again and force myself to stay calm. “Tuck your tail in, little duck,” I say, smoothing the blouse back in place.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Primrose Everdeen
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Katniss talks about her feelings of helplessness. Katniss has always been enormously close with her little sister, Prim, and she protects her from every possible danger. But since Prim is a child, she's required to enter in the annual Hunger Games lottery--i.e., she's required to risk competing in the bloody Games themselves. Katniss isn't strong enough to protect Prim from being selected for the Games--she's simply not powerful enough to fight the authority of the government of Panem, and the lottery of the Games.

The passage is also important because Katniss displays some of the poise and self-control that will later serve her well during the Games. Although she's incredibly frightened on behalf of her sister, Katniss doesn't let her fear show: taking care of someone else ("tuck your tail in") makes Katniss more, not less, calm.

The result was Panem, a shining Capitol ringed by thirteen districts, which brought peace and prosperity to its citizens. Then came the Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol. Twelve were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated. The Treaty of Treason gave us the new laws to guarantee peace and, as our yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated, it gave us the Hunger Games.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker)
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Here we're introduced to some of the history of Panem. Panem, we're told, has presided over a country of 13 districts for many years. But once, the districts rose up against their tyrannical government. Although the Capitol was able to fend off the districts' attack, it has learned from its mistakes. In order to ensure that another uprising will never occur, the government demands all the districts of Panem to sacrifice their own children in a yearly Hunger Games. The demand of a sacrifice is a kind of threat: it implies that if the citizens don't cooperate with the government, other children will be hurt, too. It also divides the districts against one another through competition. And in an even more twisted kind of punishment, the Games aren't just about torture or fear—they're about entertainment. The districts must watch their children fight, but they're also supposed to enjoy it.

Chapter 2 Quotes

But a shift has occurred since I stepped up to take Prim’s place, and now it seems I have become someone precious. At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means goodbye to someone you love.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Primrose Everdeen
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

Almost from the beginning of the book, Katniss is portrayed as a martyr and a heroine. Katniss sacrifices her own life (or at least gravely endangers it) by volunteering to take her little sister's place in the Hunger Games. She's frightened of being killed (as nearly everyone in the Hunger Games will be), but her love for her sister outweighs her own fear of death. In short, Katniss is a martyr, willing to die on behalf of her sister, as well as the community of District 12 as a whole (by volunteering for the Games, she's temporarily protecting the other people of her community from harm).

The passage is also an early sign that Katniss is dangerous to the government of Panem. Notice that nobody else in Panem volunteers to take Katniss's place: unlike Katniss, they're too frightened to endanger their own lives. In other words, Katniss's love for her family makes her brave and selfless, while the rest of the community's fear makes them meek and obedient to the government. Katniss is exactly the kind of person the government doesn't want around: a strong, unintimidated young woman who'll fight for Prim, even if it means fighting the government itself.

Maybe if I had thanked him at some point, I’d be feeling less conflicted now. I thought about it a couple of times, but the opportunity never seemed to present itself. And now it never will. Because we’re going to be thrown into an arena to fight to the death. Exactly how am I supposed to work in a thank-you in there? Somehow it just won’t seem sincere if I’m trying to slit his throat.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Peeta Mellark
Related Symbols: Bread
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

In this part of the novel, Katniss remembers the time when Peeta saved her life, and the lives of her family members. Peeta, a baker's son, took pity on Katniss, who was looking for food, and gave her some leftover loaves of bread. Katniss never spoke to Peeta, let alone thanked him for his generosity.

Katniss realizes, with a touch of gallows humor, that she can't exactly thank Peeta now--anything she says to him will have an undercurrent of competition, since she'll be fighting against him in the Hunger Games (and may well be the one to kill him). As Katniss struggles to preserve her sanity in the face of bloody competition, dark humor of the kind exemplified in the passage becomes of the utmost importance--as long as she can muster a joke, she's still the same old Katniss.

Chapter 3 Quotes

Peeta Mellark, on the other hand, has obviously been crying and interestingly enough does not seem to be trying to cover it up. I immediately wonder if this will be his strategy in the Games. To appear weak and frightened, to reassure the other tributes that he is no competition at all, and then come out fighting.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Peeta Mellark
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point, Katniss and Peeta stil don't know each other. As a result, Katniss finds it difficult, if not impossible, to trust Peeta. She notices that Peeta seems sad and lonely, but she doesn't trust such an "image" of weakness. Indeed, Katniss imagines that Peeta is crafting his image so that his opponents won't take him seriously until it's too late.

The fact that Katniss supposes that Peeta might be performing for his competitors suggests that she herself is a capable performer who can use appearances to her advantage (in other words, it takes one to know one). This also stresses the importance of appearances and competition in the Games—when everyone is fighting for their lives, there's no room for honesty or trust.

“At least, you two have decent manners,” says Effie as we’re finishing the main course. “The pair last year ate everything with their hands like a couple of savages. It completely upset my digestion.” The pair last year were two kids from the Seam who’d never, not one day of their lives, had enough to eat. And when they did have food, table manners were surely the last thing on their minds.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Effie Trinket (speaker), Peeta Mellark
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

Peeta and Katniss, the two competitors from District 12, meet Effie Trinket, the narrow-minded, rather vapid manager of the Hunger Games ceremonies. Effie is disturbingly out of touch with the realities of Panem: for instance, when discussing the competitors from last year, she complains that they were messy eaters (even though, as Katniss points out, they were probably starving to death, and didn't care about table manners in the slightest).

The passage exemplifies the social inequalities of Panem. The wealthiest people in the country are shockingly out of touch with the poorest people: the wealthy literally cannot understand how the poor live. (Collins has stated in interviews that she based the social inequalities of Panem on the economic condition of the U.S. following the Great Recession.)

Chapter 4 Quotes

A kind Peeta Mellark is far more dangerous to me than an unkind one. Kind people have a way of working their way inside me and rooting there. And I can’t let Peeta do this. Not where we’re going. So I decide, from this moment on, to have as little as possible to do with the baker’s son.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Peeta Mellark
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Peeta offers Katniss some cookies that his father baked. As Katniss realizes, Peeta is genuinely trying to befriend Katniss prior to the beginning of the Hunger Games tournament. Katniss was wrong to assume that Peeta was trying to "play" his competitors--he really is a kind, likable guy. But Katniss continues to hold Peeta at a distance. Even if Peeta is a likable guy, Katniss refuses to befriend him.

As Katniss explains it, she refuses to let Peeta "root inside" her. Put a different way, Katniss doesn't want to develop any sympathy for Peet--there's a strong possibility that she'll have to kill him at some point during the Hunger Games. In order to save herself the guilt and self-hatred, Katniss decides to ignore Peeta as much as possible: she doesn't want to grow attached to one of her future victims.

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.

The people begin to point at us eagerly as they recognize a tribute train rolling into the city. I step away from the window, sickened by their excitement, knowing they can’t wait to watch us die. But Peeta holds his ground, actually waving and smiling at the gawking crowd. He only stops when the train pulls into the station, blocking us from their view.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Peeta Mellark
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

Katniss and Peeta have arrived at the Capitol, where they will soon begin competing in the Hunger Games. As they arrive, Katniss and Peeta notice a huge crowd of people--people who are clapping and cheering. Katniss rightly sees how "sick" the crowd's behavior is: they're cheering for Katniss and Peeta's impending deaths.

It's interesting to note the difference between Katniss and Peeta's behavior. Peeta is more willing than Katniss to wave back at the crowd, acknowledging their applause. While it's possible that Peeta really does buy into the pomp and pageantry of the Hunger Games, it's more likely that he's just acting his part, getting people to root for him, all while knowing full-well how sick the crowd's behavior is. Peeta knows that if he gets the crowd on his side, he'll have an easier time winning the Games.

Chapter 5 Quotes

Days of hunting and gathering for this one meal and even then it would be a poor substitution for the Capitol version. What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button?

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker)
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

As Katniss travels to the Capitol of Panem to participate in the Hunger Games, she's exposed to obscene amounts of wealth and luxury. In District 12, Katniss has only the most limited access to food, money and entertainment--in the Capitol, however, luxury is everywhere. She's dazzled by what she sees--the hunter can barely imagine a life in which food is so readily available.

Katniss's unfamiliarity with the lifestyle of the Capitol is both a strength and a weakness. She's a little intimidated by the pomp and pageantry of the Capitol, and her intimidated attitude will sometimes make her a reluctant competitor in the Games. At the same time, Katniss's very lack of familiarity with the Capitol allows her to see through the gaudiness of the Games. While her competitors savor the audience's applause and get carried away with the spectacle of the Games, Katniss finds it impossible to be seduced by such things. As a result, she's a calmer and more level-headed competitor--she has no illusions about the grim realities behind the Games and the Capitol's wealth.

Cinna has given me a great advantage. No one will forget me. Not my look, not my name. Katniss. The girl who was on fire.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Cinna
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

Katniss has an important ally during the early days of the Hunger Games--her stylist, Cinna. Cinna is a talented designer and makeup artist who's been tasked with finding the right "look" for Katniss. Cinna steps up to the task and creates a fiery, highly memorable outfit for Katniss, one that makes her stand out from the other competitors and earns her the crowd's admiration.

Thanks to Cinna, Katniss begins to realize the importance of glamour and spectacle in the Hunger Games. It's not enough to "play the game"--Katniss must also seduce the audience, convincing them to sponsor her and send her supplies. In short, Cinna teaches Katniss an important lesson: win the crowd and you'll win the Games.

Chapter 6 Quotes

“…but I’ve done my best with what I had to work with. How Katniss sacrificed herself for her sister. How you’ve both successfully struggled to overcome the barbarism of your district.”
Barbarism? That’s ironic coming from a woman helping to prepare us for slaughter.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Effie Trinket (speaker), Primrose Everdeen
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

As Katniss prepares for the start of the Hunger Games, she spends more time with Effie Trinket, her manager, and is constantly amazed by Effie's insensitivity and narrow-mindedness. Effie is always in a hurry: she loves to complain about the dirtiness of the competitors from District 12, and her greatest worry seems to be that she'll be unable to make the District 12 competitors presentable in the Capitol.

Effie is a classic example of someone who "can't see the forest for the trees." She's so obsessed with doing her job--i.e., making the Hunger Games fun and exciting--that she seems not to understand how barbaric and bloody the Hunger Games really are.

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.

The Capitol twinkles like a vast field of fireflies. Electricity in District 12 comes and goes, usually we only have it a few hours a day. Often the evenings are spent in candlelight. The only time you can count on it is w hen they’re airing the Games or some important government message on television that it’s mandatory to watch. But here there would be no shortage. Ever.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker)
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

Katniss is again astounded by the opulence of life in the Capitol of Panem. In her hometown of District 12, life is harsh and difficult, due to the absence of food, reliable electricity, and running water in the community. In the Capitol, by contrast, there's constant electricity, as well as huge, intimidating buildings illuminated with electricity at all hours of the day and night. Katniss has never seen anything like it.

Katniss's unfamiliarity with the glitz of Capitol life is one of her biggest assets. In the Capitol, and in wealthier districts like 2 or 3, the people are more complacent--they reap the benefits of the other districts' suffering, and so they're less likely to challenge the status quo. Katniss, however, must fight for everything she wants: if she wants dinner, she has to go out and hunt for it herself.

Chapter 7 Quotes

Almost all of the boys and at least half of the girls are bigger than I am, even though many of the tributes have never been fed properly…The exceptions are the kids from the wealthier districts, the volunteers, the ones who have been fed and trained throughout their lives for this moment.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker)
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

Katniss checks out her competitors in the Hunger Games. Many of the children are just like her: malnourished, tough, forced to spend all their time fighting for their food. As Katniss has already explained, the biased format of the lottery system virtually ensures that the majority of the Hunger Games competitors are from poor families.

Katniss also notices that some of her competitors are well-fed. Katniss finds it disturbing that some of the Tributes in the Hunger Games have actually volunteered for the task. They've spent their entire lives training for the Games--learning how to use various weapons, working out, etc. The residents of the wealthiest districts, such as 1 and 2, pay Tributes to fight on their behalf, seeing it as a way to win glory and fame.

In other words, there are two kinds of competitors in the Games: poor, malnourished people, and well-paid volunteers. In a way, both kinds of competitors have spent an entire lifetime training for the Games: the poor children because they've always had to fight to survive; the wealthy volunteers because they've grown up preparing for the Games. 

Chapter 8 Quotes

I can’t help comparing what I have with Gale to what I’m pretending to have with Peeta. How I never question Gale’s motives while I do nothing but doubt the latter’s. It’s not a fair comparison really. Gale and I were thrown together by a mutual need to survive. Peeta and I know the other’s survival means our own death. How do you sidestep that?

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Peeta Mellark, Gale
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Collins foreshadows the famous "Katniss-Gale-Peeta" love triangle, which shows up again and again through the Hunger Games trilogy. At various points, Katniss is more attracted to Gale than to Peeta; at other times, she prefers Peeta. For the time being, though, Katniss barely thinks of her relationships with Gale and Peeta as being romantic. Her friendship with Gale is seemingly platonic, and indeed, she can barely trust Peeta at all--she knows that they're going to have to fight to the death at some point down the line, after all.

The passage raises an important point: all alliances in the Hunger Games are temporary. Even if it makes sense to work with Peeta in the short term, Katniss knows that their "friendship" can end only one way: with one or both of their deaths. Although Peeta and Katniss have "rebelled" against Panem by holding hands, showing their trust and friendship, the fact remains that in the end, they'll have to fight one another. In short, "the house always wins"--Panem always succeeds in getting Hunger Games competitors to kill.

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 15 Quotes

It’s interesting, hearing about her life. We have so little communication with anyone outside our district. In fact, I wonder if the Gamemakers are blocking out our conversation, because even though the information seems harmless, they don’t want people in different districts to know about one another.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Rue
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

In the middle of the Hunger Games, Katniss forms a friendship with Rue, a competitor from another district of Panem. Instead of fighting Rue, Katniss asks her about her life at home, and Rue treats Katniss the same way.

By doing something as simple as having a friendly conversation, Katniss and Rue are actually rebelling against the format of the Hunger Games. The Gamemakers (the designers of the Hunger Games) want competitors to hate each other, thereby breeding division throughout Panem as a whole. By trading hatred for friendship, Rue and Katniss are challenging the basic premise of the Hunger Games. One mark of Rue and Katniss's rebelliousness is the fact that the Gamemakers are probably censoring their conversation: although it seems harmless, the Gamemakers know full-well that no signs of true collaboration between districts (or, by the same token, information about the different districts) can be shown on television.

Chapter 18 Quotes

I can’t stop looking at Rue, smaller than ever, a baby animal curled up in a nest of netting. I can’t bring myself to leave her like this. Past harm, but seeming utterly defenseless. To hate the boy from District 1, who also appears so vulnerable in death, seems inadequate. It’s the Capitol I hate, for doing this to all of us.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Rue
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Katniss's friend Rue is killed by a competitor from District 1. Rue's death is important to the plot of the novel for a number of reasons. First, it reminds us that Katniss, in spite of her ability to kill, is fundamentally a kind, sympathetic person, who only entered the Hunger Games in the first place because of her love for Prim, her sister. In Rue, Katniss seems to find a counterpart to Prim--a young, innocent girl--and so when Rue dies, Katniss seems almost as grief-stricken as if Prim had died.

Furthermore, Rue's death is important because it challenges Katniss's ideas about the Hunger Games themselves. So far, Katniss has been willing to participate in the violence of the Games: she knows full-well that the Capitol is just trying to breed anger and hatred between the districts, but she still wants to survive and return to her family. In this scene, Katniss is tempted to blame the boy from District 1 for Rue's death, but instead, she forces herself to see the big picture: Rue is only death because of the Capitol itself. In other words, Katniss doesn't "take the bait." Instead of doing what the Capitol wants—fighting with the other districts, and strengthening the Capitol's authority—she recognizes who her real enemies are: the Capitol and the Gamemakers.

Chapter 19 Quotes

Peeta, who’s been wounded, is now my ally…it just makes sense to protect each other. And in my case—being one of the star-crossed lovers from District 12—it’s an absolute requirement if I want any more help from sympathetic sponsors.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Peeta Mellark
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Katniss fully decides to protect Peeta during the Hunger Games. Peeta has been seriously wounded--he's incapable of defending himself in any capacity. But instead of killing Peeta (finishing him off, that is), Katniss chooses to help and nurture him.

It's important to understand why Katniss chooses to help Peeta. Katniss knows the rules of the Hunger Games: she knows that there can only be one winner, meaning that any help she offers to her competitors is hurting her own chances of surviving the Games. And yet Katniss also recognizes that her chances of receiving more sponsorship from her wealthy supporters hinges upon her keeping up a "romance" with Peeta. In short, the "story" of romance between Katniss and Peeta controls Katniss's behavior in this scene: she has no choice but to play along in the hopes of receiving more supplies.

For the time being, Katniss is still mostly acting out of self-preservation: she clearly feels genuine sympathy for Peeta, but she also accepts that helping him will be beneficial for both of them. The most complicated part of their budding romance/friendship is that it's always very public, and it's always tinged with acting and keeping up appearances.

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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Katniss Everdeen Character Timeline in The Hunger Games

The timeline below shows where the character Katniss Everdeen appears in The Hunger Games. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Katniss wakes up on the morning of the reaping to find that her little sister, Prim,... (full context)
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Katniss rises from bed and gets dressed. She grabs her forage bag and retrieves a piece... (full context)
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Katniss’s home is almost at the edge of the Seam, and she heads towards the fence... (full context)
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In the woods, Katniss retrieves a bow and a sheath of arrows from their hiding spot in a log.... (full context)
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Katniss recalls that when she was younger, she would blurt out criticisms of the government, frightening... (full context)
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The only person Katniss feels that she can truly be free with is her hunting partner, Gale. Gale refers... (full context)
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...of real bakery bread to share on the morning of reaping day, and he and Katniss make a meal out of the bread, goat cheese, and blackberries from surrounding bushes. They... (full context)
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As Katniss watches Gale, she notes that their features are so similar, they might be related. Almost... (full context)
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Katniss’s father would sometimes bring herbs that he had foraged in the woods to sell to... (full context)
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...kids he means their younger siblings and mothers, who rely on the food Gale and Katniss bring home from their outings. (full context)
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Katniss is confused by Gale’s outburst—there’s never been anything romantic between them. They met in the... (full context)
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By the end of the morning, Gale and Katniss have a dozen fish, a bag of greens, and a gallon of strawberries. On the... (full context)
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...in the lottery than do the children of wealthier families who can survive without tesserae. Katniss now has twenty entries in the reaping, and Gale, who has been single-handedly feeding a... (full context)
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Gale and Katniss split up the food they’ve gathered and head to their respective homes. When Katniss arrives... (full context)
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Katniss attempts to comfort Prim, who is attending her first reaping. Even though the odds are... (full context)
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...speech before it’s time to read the names. She begins with the girls’ names, and Katniss prays that she won’t be called. As it turns out, her name isn’t the one... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Katniss remembers a time when she fell asleep while waiting in a tree for game to... (full context)
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Katniss runs to Prim just as she is about to mount the steps and shouts that... (full context)
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Prim begins screaming hysterically, and Katniss gruffly tells her to let go—Katniss doesn’t want to reveal any weaknesses before the camera.... (full context)
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At this moment, Haymitch staggers across the stage to congratulate Katniss. He gets out only a few words before he loses his balance and plummets off... (full context)
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Although Katniss has never directly spoken to Peeta, he’s had a profound impact on her life. Three... (full context)
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On the day of Katniss’s encounter with Peeta Mellark, she had been searching in the trash bins behind the shops,... (full context)
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Katniss walked away from the encounter and collapsed at the roots of a nearby apple tree,... (full context)
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Katniss quickly shoved the loaves under her shirt and returned home, where Prim and her mother... (full context)
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To this day, Katniss associates Peeta with the dandelion that gave her hope. She always meant to thank him,... (full context)
Chapter 3
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After the ceremony ends, Peeta and Katniss are marched through the front door of the Justice Building and conducted into separate rooms... (full context)
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Next, Katniss is surprised to see Peeta Mellark’s father, the baker, enter the room. He doesn’t speak... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Finally, Gale arrives. He wraps Katniss in his arms and instructs her on what to do once she’s in the arena.... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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The speed of the train takes Katniss’s breath away—it can travel at 250 miles an hour. The train is also incredibly fancy,... (full context)
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Effie comes to collect Katniss for supper, and they walk into a dining room where Peeta sits waiting. Effie seems... (full context)
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After the meal, Peeta and Katniss go to another compartment to watch a recap of the reapings across Panem. A few... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Peeta and Katniss realize that Effie is right about Haymitch as their mentor. They decide to help him... (full context)
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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,... (full context)
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Eventually, Katniss wandered deeper and deeper into the woods, finding food to keep her family alive. Soon,... (full context)
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Katniss feels homesick as she thinks of her family, wondering what they might’ve had for dinner.... (full context)
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Effie’s voice wakes Katniss in the morning, and she dresses, deciding to keep her hair in the braids her... (full context)
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Katniss realizes she detests Haymitch, believing that he’s part of the reason District 12 tributes never... (full context)
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Katniss asks Haymitch for advice, and his response is, “Stay alive.” Then he laughs. Peeta responds... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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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... (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... (full context)
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When her stylist, Cinna, arrives in the room, Katniss is surprised by how natural he looks. The only thing that seems altered on him... (full context)
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Katniss puts on a robe, and she and Cinna walk into a sitting room, where they... (full context)
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...something that represents the district of the tribute. Because District 12 is a mining district, Katniss assumes that she and Peeta will be in some kind of coal mining getup. However,... (full context)
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A few hours later, Katniss is dressed in a simple black unitard that covers her from ankle to neck, with... (full context)
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...their turn to roll out, Cinna lights the fake flames and gestures for Peeta and Katniss to hold hands. The flames immediately draw the crowd’s attention, and they roar Katniss’s name... (full context)
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When the chariot pulls back into the Training Center, Peeta compliments Katniss on her appearance with the flames, and she decides that part of his strategy is... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...the training center, each district has an entire floor. Effie has been corralling Peeta and Katniss around, and she says that she’s been talking them up to everyone she knows in... (full context)
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Katniss’s quarters are larger than her entire house back home. She experiments with the automatic gadgets,... (full context)
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When Katniss arrives, she sees that the stylists will be joining them for dinner in order to... (full context)
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A red-haired girl comes to set a cake on the table, and when Katniss turns to ask her a question, she finds that she recognizes the girl. She blurts... (full context)
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Katniss finally recalls who the girl is, but senses that she should conceal this knowledge. Peeta... (full context)
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...opening ceremonies. Haymitch comments that the handholding is the perfect touch of rebellion, which gives Katniss pause. She realizes that the other tributes stood stiffly next to each other, not touching,... (full context)
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When they’re alone, Peeta corners Katniss and asks her about the Avox. Katniss hesitates, and Peeta, sensing her hesitation, suggests that... (full context)
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Katniss explains that she and Gale had been hunting in the woods one day, hiding as... (full context)
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Katniss believes that the girl and the boy were from the Capitol from the way they... (full context)
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Peeta and Katniss return indoors and say goodnight. When Katniss enters her room, the red-haired girl is there,... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Katniss sleeps fitfully, with nightmares, and when she drags herself into the shower in the morning,... (full context)
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Katniss serves herself breakfast and eats while thinking about what Prim and her mother might be... (full context)
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...asks them for an assessment of their skills, and Peeta says that he has none. Katniss says that she’s okay with a bow and arrow, but Peeta immediately talks her up,... (full context)
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Haymitch advises Peeta and Katniss to save their special skills for their private sessions with the Gamemakers. While they’re practicing... (full context)
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Katniss marches off to her room, angry that she and Peeta are being forced to act... (full context)
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...assistants on hand if they care to practice with a partner. As the trainer talks, Katniss observes the other tributes and notes that most of them are larger than her. However,... (full context)
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...the Career Tributes immediately head to show off their skills, handling deadly weapons. Peeta and Katniss decide to go to the knot-tying station, followed by a camouflage station that Peeta seems... (full context)
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...girl tribute from District 11. She follows them from station to station, and she reminds Katniss of Prim. On the District 12 floor, Effie and Haymitch have teamed up to tell... (full context)
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...of lunch for their private sessions. District 12 goes last, and by the time it’s Katniss’s turn, she realizes that the Gamemakers are bored already and no longer paying attention. She... (full context)
Chapter 8
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As Katniss strides back to her room, she begins sobbing, terrified that the Gamemakers will punish her... (full context)
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When Effie calls Katniss down to dinner, Katniss decides to go. Everyone is seated at the table, including Cinna... (full context)
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Finally, Katniss reveals what she did in the private session, and everyone at the table stops eating.... (full context)
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In the morning, Katniss imagines what Gale might be doing back home. She recalls the first time she met... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Katniss feels betrayed at first, but she realizes that she and Peeta will soon be trying... (full context)
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In frustration, Katniss smashes all the plates in her room that night, and the red-haired girl is surprised... (full context)
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In the morning, the prep team gets Katniss ready for her interview. Cinna has designed a dress for her that’s made out of... (full context)
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...interviews for the past forty years, is spending three minutes with each tribute. When it’s Katniss’s turn, she’s extremely nervous but tries to be honest as Cinna advised her to be.... (full context)
Chapter 10
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The crowd grows upset, sympathetically murmuring after Peeta’s admission. Katniss is shocked and looks down to avoid the cameras. After the tributes return to their... (full context)
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...Then it’s time for them to say their goodbyes, since the next morning, Peeta and Katniss will enter the arena. Effie actually has tears in her eyes, and Haymitch again repeats... (full context)
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...the Capitol’s pawns—how he wants to maintain his identity, even in the Games. This rubs Katniss the wrong way, and she snaps at Peeta before turning and heading back to her... (full context)
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When the hovercraft lands, Cinna and Katniss find themselves in a room below the arena, where Katniss changes into the outfit she... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...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 Katniss hesitates when she sees... (full context)
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...and he seems to be shaking his head at her. When the gong rings out, Katniss misses the moment to dash for the Cornucopia and instead grabs a nearby sheet of... (full context)
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Katniss begins to feel better as she walks farther into the woods, even though there’s no... (full context)
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Katniss examines the contents of her pack, finding a sleeping bag and some crackers and dried... (full context)
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Katniss dozes off only to be awakened a few hours later by the sound of branches... (full context)
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The pack starts to walk away, but they pause beneath Katniss’s tree, worried that the girl they left behind isn’t dead yet. One voice says that... (full context)
Chapter 12
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When Peeta runs back to finish off the girl, Katniss overhears the Career Tributes discussing whether they should kill him or not. It seems that... (full context)
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Before Katniss leaves the area, she checks her snare traps and finds one rabbit. She returns to... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Katniss grabs her sleeping bag, which contains her backpack and water bottle, and runs. However, Katniss... (full context)
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Katniss finds herself near a pond, where she allows the water to cool her burns. Exhausted... (full context)
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Katniss settles in for the night, aware that the Careers are still waiting below the tree... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Katniss realizes that Rue is pointing at what looks like a wasp nest above Katniss’s head,... (full context)
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Katniss devises a plan to cut down the branch on which the nest hangs. She believes... (full context)
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When Katniss awakens in the morning, she sees that all of the members of the Career pack... (full context)
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Katniss is hallucinating severely because of the tracker jacker stings, and the trees around her seem... (full context)
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Katniss continues to hallucinate as she stumbles away, vaguely aware that someone—possibly she—is screaming. Finally, she... (full context)
Chapter 15
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The tracker jacker venom causes Katniss to have nightmares about Prim and her father getting hurt, as well as having her... (full context)
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Katniss sips her water and puts more ointment on her burns, realizing that she needs to... (full context)
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Katniss smiles and offers to make an alliance with Rue. She also offers Rue some meat,... (full context)
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Rue and Katniss lay out their food and materials to share, and Rue recognizes the strange sunglasses from... (full context)
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...are too strong to defeat—they have all the supplies and can’t go hungry. This helps Katniss formulate a plan. She tells Rue that they’ll have to change the Careers’ food situation. (full context)
Chapter 16
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Rue falls asleep immediately after snuggling into the sleeping bag with Katniss, and Katniss feels similarly that she can trust Rue. Katniss falls asleep as well, and... (full context)
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Rue and Katniss formulate a plan that involves Rue distracting the Careers by creating a series of fires... (full context)
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Katniss heads off to spy on the Careers and notices that their setup is very strange.... (full context)
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Katniss tries to decide what she should do about the knowledge. If she sends off only... (full context)
Chapter 17
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When Katniss is able to crawl away from the explosion, she sees that it’s successfully blown the... (full context)
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...alive. They light a torch and head into the woods to hunt for the bomber. Katniss, meanwhile, dons her night vision glasses and snacks on some of the greens and nuts... (full context)
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In the morning, Katniss awakens to hear laughter and realizes that she has hearing back in her right ear.... (full context)
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Katniss follows the stream back to the site where she said she would meet Rue. Her... (full context)
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By late afternoon, Katniss decides to look for Rue. She finds the site of the third fire that Rue... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Katniss shoots the boy who speared Rue, killing him immediately. She runs to Rue but sees... (full context)
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Rue dies, and Katniss finally understands what Peeta meant that night he talked about wanting to show the Capitol... (full context)
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Afterwards, Katniss wanders aimlessly and is about to make a camp in a tree when another silver... (full context)
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Katniss settles into her tree, eats the bread from District 11 and dozes, dreaming of Rue.... (full context)
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Katniss replenishes her water and settles into another tree for the night but can’t stop thinking... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Katniss immediately regrets calling Peeta’s name, but then she realizes that there’s almost no one left... (full context)
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Katniss decides that Peeta must be near a source of water, since he wouldn’t be able... (full context)
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Katniss looks towards the source of the voice, but she still can’t find Peeta and wanders... (full context)
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Katniss allows Peeta to rest for a bit and then forces him to move, but he... (full context)
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When Katniss heads outside the cave, she sees that Haymitch has sent another gift—a bowl of broth.... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Katniss feeds Peeta the broth, coaxing and kissing until he finishes it and falls asleep. Katniss... (full context)
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Katniss prepares a berry mush to feed Peeta for breakfast, and Peeta panics to see that... (full context)
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Katniss goes to prepare a soup and when she checks on Peeta again, he asks her... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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As Katniss heads outside, lost in thought, another parachute arrives from Haymitch. Katniss realizes that it contains... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Katniss camouflages the cave opening before nightfall. Then she eats and cleans her weapons. Katniss decides... (full context)
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At around three hours before dawn, Katniss prepares to leave Peeta, placing the medicine and water near his side. She decides to... (full context)
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Katniss still isn’t able to hear out of her left ear, but she follows the same... (full context)
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Katniss runs towards the Cornucopia and deflects a knife that comes whizzing at her. Katniss retaliates,... (full context)
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Cato discovers that Clove is dead, and Katniss flees the scene before he can chase after her. She hopes that Cato will run... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Katniss begins to wake, imagining that she’s back at home and her mother is stroking her... (full context)
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Peeta feeds Katniss, as she tells him about what happened at the feast. She tells him about how... (full context)
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Peeta and Katniss discuss the remaining contestants, and the thought of Thresh being killed upsets Katniss greatly. She... (full context)
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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 first gave Peeta a kiss. She knows... (full context)
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Katniss insists on taking the first watch, but after three to four hours, she can’t stay... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Katniss and Peeta are careful to ration the rich food so that it doesn’t disturb their... (full context)
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As Peeta takes his turn sleeping, Katniss keeps watch. During her shift, the rain stops suddenly, and a full moon appears in... (full context)
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Katniss wakes Peeta in the morning and they split the remaining stew. They joke about what... (full context)
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Katniss grows worried when Peeta doesn’t respond to her whistled signal, however, and runs to find... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Katniss explains how Foxface had been stealing food from the others and how she must have... (full context)
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After Katniss and Peeta reach the cave and eat, Katniss allows Peeta to sleep throughout the night... (full context)
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Katniss and Peeta head to the lake, but Cato doesn’t seem to be there when they... (full context)
Chapter 25
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Katniss can see that the creatures are more muttations, giant wolves that move in an unnervingly... (full context)
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As Katniss and Peeta climb onto the golden horn, Katniss recognizes that the mutts each resemble one... (full context)
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In the morning, when Katniss sees Cato again, the muttations have left, but Cato is still alive. He’s a raw... (full context)
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Katniss is shocked, and when she sees Peeta reaching for his knife, she automatically trains her... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Katniss and Peeta spit out the berries and wash out their mouths in the lake. A... (full context)
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Katniss notices that her scars are all gone, and her hearing’s been repaired. She gets out... (full context)
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Katniss follows Cinna to get ready. He’s designed a very simple looking yellow dress that makes... (full context)
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When Haymitch greets Katniss again, he asks to give her a hug before the show begins. While he has... (full context)
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Katniss is very afraid, wondering how this might affect her family in District 12. She has... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Katniss waits as other members of the team are introduced onstage, and then it’s her turn,... (full context)
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...Snow, leader of Panem, arrives with a crown, breaking it in half to crown both Katniss and Peeta. By the coldness in his eyes, Katniss sees that President Snow blames her... (full context)
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Katniss attempts to find Peeta anyway, wandering to the roof. She returns to her room, but... (full context)
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The next morning, Katniss joins her prep team and Cinna as they dress her for her interview. When it’s... (full context)
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Katniss and Peeta gather their things—just the mockingjay pin for Katniss—and they head to the train.... (full context)
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When the train stops for fuel, Peeta and Katniss head outside, hand in hand. Peeta hands her a bunch of wildflowers, but they only... (full context)