The Hunger Games


Suzanne Collins

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The Hunger Games: Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Katniss shoots the boy who speared Rue, killing him immediately. She runs to Rue but sees that the wound is beyond healing. Katniss tells Rue that she destroyed the Careers’ food stash, and she promises Rue that she will win the Games for both of them. Rue asks Katniss to sing something for her, and Katniss chokes back tears as she sings Rue a mountain tune from District 12.
Although Katniss normally doesn’t like to sing, she does so because it’s Rue’s last request. The fact that she’s mourning for Rue shows the audience that Rue is worth caring about—is a person worthy of respect—and highlights the cruelty of the Hunger Games for an audience that usually only sees their entertainment factor.
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Rue dies, and Katniss finally understands what Peeta meant that night he talked about wanting to show the Capitol that he’s more than a pawn in their games. Katniss decides to make a wildflower wreath for Rue so that it will have to be broadcast to everyone who watches the Hunger Games when her body is collected.
Katniss’s gesture shows the audience that Rue doesn’t exist solely for their entertainment. Her life was also important and worth mourning. Katniss’s act is defiant because it forces the Capitol audience to see how unfair their Games are.
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Afterwards, Katniss wanders aimlessly and is about to make a camp in a tree when another silver parachute lands. She’s confused as to what it might hold, since she’s not in need of anything particular from sponsors right now, but when she checks the parachute, she finds a loaf of bread from District 11, Rue’s district. She can’t imagine how many people would have had to do without in order to scrape up enough money to send this loaf, and Katniss thanks District 11 aloud so that they’ll know she appreciates the gesture.
From Rue’s descriptions of District 11, Katniss realizes that the people of District 11 probably had to sacrifice money they didn’t have in order to send her a gift. Because she understands how little they have, she appreciates the bread even more. This is also the first time in the history of the Games that one district has sent a gift to another district’s tribute, which the Capitol might perceive as a threat, since the Capitol maintains control by keeping the districts divided.
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Katniss settles into her tree, eats the bread from District 11 and dozes, dreaming of Rue. She dreams that Rue is alive and singing to her. When Katniss wakes up in the morning, she 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 no one takes the bait.
As usual, it’s Katniss’s connection and loyalty to Prim that motivates her to fight harder in the Hunger Games. If she didn’t have anything to return to in District 12, it’s likely that she wouldn’t try as hard to win.
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Katniss replenishes her water and settles into another tree for the night but can’t stop thinking about the boy she killed. She realizes that he was her first direct kill. As she attempts to settle into sleep, trumpets sound, announcing a change to the rules. Two tributes from the same district will now be allowed to win if they’re the last two to survive the Games. Before Katniss realizes what she’s doing, she calls for Peeta.
Katniss dwells on the fact that she killed a boy because she realizes that she would be a hypocrite to pretend that his life didn’t matter to people in his district—just like the Capitol audience who watch tributes die without thinking twice about their families back home. Katniss’s reaction to the announcement also shows that cares for Peeta and has been concerned for him over the course of the Games. The Gamesmakers have clearly changed the rules to satisfy the audience's desire to see the two "lovers" working together. They are trying to manipulate Katniss and Peeta, perhaps not realizing the true power of love and loyalty.
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