The Hunger Games

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Primrose Everdeen Character Analysis

Prim is Katniss’s little sister. With blonde hair and blue eyes—rare in their area of District 12—Prim is young, innocent, and not as strong or independent as Katniss. Katniss is fiercely protective of her. Against the odds, Prim’s name is picked at her first reaping when she’s twelve years old. Katniss volunteers to take her place in the Games.

Primrose Everdeen Quotes in The Hunger Games

The The Hunger Games quotes below are all either spoken by Primrose Everdeen or refer to Primrose 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

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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Primrose Everdeen Character Timeline in The Hunger Games

The timeline below shows where the character Primrose Everdeen appears in The Hunger Games. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
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Katniss wakes up on the morning of the reaping to find that her little sister, Prim, has moved to their mother’s bed in the middle of the night. Prim’s ugly cat,... (full context)
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...gets dressed. She grabs her forage bag and retrieves a piece of goat cheese that Prim has left for her under a bowl, and then Katniss steps outside. Katniss’s family lives... (full context)
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...in anything other than small talk. She even avoids discussing her opinions at home, where Prim might hear her and start repeating her words. (full context)
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...in the Seam has straight black hair, olive skin, and gray eyes. Katniss’s mother and Prim, however, are exceptions, with light hair and blue eyes. This is because Katniss’s mother’s parents... (full context)
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...their respective homes. When Katniss arrives at her house, she finds that her mother and Prim are already ready, with Prim wearing Katniss’s first reaping outfit, a skirt and ruffled blouse.... (full context)
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Katniss attempts to comfort Prim, who is attending her first reaping. Even though the odds are in Prim’s favor, she’s... (full context)
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...be called. As it turns out, her name isn’t the one called—instead, it’s her sister, Prim. (full context)
Chapter 2
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...struggled to breathe for several moments afterwards. She feels the same way now, shocked that Prim’s name has been called for the reaping, even though she only had one entry in... (full context)
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Katniss runs to Prim just as she is about to mount the steps and shouts that she will volunteer... (full context)
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Prim begins screaming hysterically, and Katniss gruffly tells her to let go—Katniss doesn’t want to reveal... (full context)
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Katniss quickly shoved the loaves under her shirt and returned home, where Prim and her mother were. The three of them devoured an entire loaf with mint tea.... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...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... (full context)
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...usually never afford. As he leaves, he tells Katniss that he’ll keep an eye on Prim and make sure she’s eating. (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...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,... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Katniss serves herself breakfast and eats while thinking about what Prim and her mother might be doing back home. She wonders whether the opening ceremony gave... (full context)
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...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 Katniss and... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...her costume, twirling for the audience. The interview concludes with Katniss repeating her promise to Prim, that she will try extremely hard to win. (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 own body torn apart. Once... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...feels groggy and unwilling to move, but she remembers that she must continue on for Prim’s sake. Katniss hunts some more birds, building a fire to attract the other contestants, but... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...good memories that involve Gale, but then she decides to talk about how she bought Prim’s goat. She changes the facts in order to keep her friends from District 12 safe,... (full context)