The Hunger Games
Katniss Everdeen awakes in the home she shares with her younger sister Prim and her emotionally distant mother. Her father died five years ago in a mine explosion. It is the day of the reaping, which will take place at 2 pm.
They live in District Twelve, or the Seam, populated mostly by coal miners. The entire settlement is encased in a tall fence to keep out predators, but Katniss goes through the fence often to hunt in the woods with her friend Gale. She is able to hunt using survival skills and a bow that her father made for her. Katniss makes money by selling in the black market, called the Hob.
Though Katniss and Gale look alike they are not related. Most residents of the Seam have dark hair, though Prim and her mother have blond hair. Gale and Katniss are the breadwinners in their families, so they cannot run away to avoid the reaping. They harvest strawberries and take them to the mayor’s house and encounter Madge, who is dressed for the reaping. Gale is annoyed because Madge has little chance of being chosen. Every child has their name entered in the drawing once a year between the ages of twelve and eighteen, but may enter their names more times in exchange for food, grain, and oil.
During the reaping ceremony, the mayor reads the story of Panem, which rose from the ashes of North America and is ruled by the Capitol. The Capitol defeated twelve districts during the Dark Days and destroyed the thirteenth. The Hunger Games are punishment for the uprisings of the Dark Days. Effie Trinket is the representative from the Capitol, and she draws the first name for the Games: Primrose Everdeen. Chapter two summary In chapter two, Katniss volunteers herself as a tribute to spare Prim. Though Effie Trinket congratulates Katniss on being in the spirit of the Games, no one in the audience claps out of respect.
The male tribute is Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son. Against the instructions of his mother, Peeta gave Katniss bread years ago after her father died and she was desperate to feed her mother and Prim. Starvation is common in District Twelve. The next day, at school, Peeta’s face was bruised, and Katniss realized then that she could feed her family through her hunting skills. On the stage at the reaping, she hopes she will not have to kill Peeta. Chapter three summary The tributes are taken away into custody and brought to a room where they have an hour to say goodbye to their family and friends.
Katniss says goodbye to Prim and her mother, reminding them that Prim cannot take tessarae. Katniss makes her mother promise not to go away again like she did when their father died. Gale has promised to take them game, but she reminds them to trade with him instead of accepting charity. Prim asks Katniss to try and win, but Katniss knows she does not have the resources the kids from wealthier districts will have. Peeta Mellark’s father visits her as well, bringing cookies and promising to make sure Prim gets enough to eat. Then Madge, the mayor’s daughter, enters and makes Katniss promise to wear a small gold pin as her token.
Finally Gale enters and reminds Katniss to find a knife, but a bow would be best for her. After her goodbyes, Katniss is glad she did not cry, but notices Peeta has been crying and does not try to hide his tears. They take a high speed train to the Capitol, located in the Rockies. District Twelve is in Appalachia, where the coal is buried very deep from so many years of mining. Most of Katniss’s education has been coal-related except for the history lectures, which tell about the twelve Districts and the Capitol. Katniss recognizes the pin Madge gave her as a mockingjay: the result of a jabberjay and mockingbird mating.
Katniss watches the replays of the reaping ceremonies. Effie Trinket reminds them that Haymitch is their lifeline just as he staggers in and vomits everywhere. Chapter four summary Peeta and Katniss help their mentor Haymitch, who had once one the Games, back to his room after he is sick. After dumping Haymitch in the shower, Peeta offers to take care of him and let Katniss go back to her room. She suggests he call someone from the Capitol to help, but he wants to take care of Haymitch himself. She is disarmed by his kindness and throws away the cookies his father gave her.
She sees a patch of dandelions by the train tracks and they remind her of the day after Peeta gave her the bread: that day she had turned from looking at his bruised face and saw a dandelion, deciding to make dandelion soup. She was reminded of the bounty of the woods, and her hunting and gathering skills kept the family alive. Katniss learned how to trade at the Hob and who in District Twelve would buy what goods. Through her success in hunting and trading, her mother came out of her depression, but Katniss cannot forgive her for her distance. The next morning Katniss has breakfast with Peeta and Haymitch, who she dislikes.
She thinks District Twelve does not get sponsors in the Games because Haymitch is so despicable. Peeta lunges at Haymitch and they scuffle. Katniss skillfully throws her knife into the wall. Haymitch realizes he has tributes that will fight this year and promises to stay sober enough to help them through the Games. The train pulls into the Capitol and Katniss and Peeta are stunned by the vibrant colors and strange styles. As Peeta waves to the crowd, Katniss remembers they are in the Games against one another and he will be trying to kill her. Chapter five summary
Katniss is in the Remake Center waiting to meet her stylist. She has been scrubbed and plucked and polished by the prep team and hasn’t complained, obeying Haymitch’s order. Katniss is unembarrassed by her nakedness because the prep team is so unlike the people she knows that they seem more like animals. Cinna, Katniss’s stylist, is much more simply attired than the rest of the team. Cinna is a new stylist for the Games and requested District Twelve. Cinna and his partner Portia want to dress Katniss and Peeta in complementary costumes for the opening ceremonies.
It is customary to dress tributes in costumes that somehow represent their Districts, and Katniss fears their costumes will be repeats of the horrible coal miner’s jumpsuits of years past. Instead, Cinna and Portia are focusing on burning the coal, dressing Peeta and Katniss in matching black unitards and capes he sets on fire with synthetic flames. Katniss and Peeta promise to rip each other’s capes off if they begin to burn through the costumes. The flames do not burn them, and at the last moment, Cinna tells them to hold hands. They are a sensation, and Katniss hopes the crowd-pleasing costumes will win her a sponsor.
Peeta disarms her with a compliment but she fights her pleasure at his words, reminding herself that it could be part of his strategy to kill her. Chapter six summary Katniss and Peeta remove to the Training Center, where they will reside until the Games begin. Katniss marvels at the elevator in the building. Effie has been making the rounds in the Capitol for them trying to win them sponsors, despite that everyone sees the coal-mining district as barbaric. Effie mistakenly tries to sell them using the metaphor that coal turns into pearls under pressure, which it does not.
Katniss’s room is huge and contains all the modern gadgets that people in the Capitol rely upon. Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Effie, Cinna, and Portia have dinner together to plan a strategy. During dessert, Katniss recognizes one of their servers who Effie identifies as an Avox, a person who had committed a crime. The girl’s tongue has been cut out, and Katniss learns she cannot speak to an Avox unless she is giving an order. While Katniss flounders for an explanation, Peeta helps her by claiming the Avox looks like Delly Cartwright from back home, who the girl actually looks nothing like.
After dinner, Peeta and Katniss go to the roof where their conversation can be disguised by the loud wind. In the garden, Katniss tells Peeta how she and Gale saw the girl in the woods when she was with Gale. The girl was with a boy and they were clearly running for their lives. The boy was killed and the girl taken away in a hovercraft. The girl asked Katniss and Gale for help just before she was captured. Katniss thinks they were from the Capitol but does not know where they were going, since beyond District Twelve is only wilderness and the ruins of District Thirteen. Peeta asks Katniss about Gale, who he thinks is her cousin.
He seems surprised that his father brought Katniss cookies, revealing that his father knew her mother when they were children. When Katniss returns to her room, the redheaded Avox is there collecting her discarded clothes. Though Katniss wants to apologize to the girl for not helping her, she simply asks her to return her clothes to Cinna. Katniss is ashamed she and Gale did not help the girl in the woods and feels it was just like watching the Games. Chapter seven summary Katniss wakes up from nightmares about her mother and Prim starving and, as always, yells for her father to run.
She dresses herself without the automated assistants in her room. Katniss is the first person at breakfast, where she serves herself from the buffet. Katniss marvels that she has only been gone from home for two days and worries about her mother and Prim. Katniss is irritated that she and Peeta are again dressed alike. The tributes will train for three days, then will perform in private for the Gamemakers. Katniss and Peeta decide Haymitch can coach them together since they already know each others’ special skills. Katniss downplays her skill with a bow and arrow but Peeta corrects her, claiming she always hits the game she hunts in the eye.
They argue about each others’ chances of survival, each thinking the other has the advantage. Haymitch instructs them to try to learn a new skill while training, not revealing their strengths to the other players. In public, Haymitch wants them to be together constantly and appear to be getting along. Katniss is angry at Haymitch’s instructions, convinced that she and Peeta should accept they are enemies. They go with Effie to the training room, where they may learn survival and fighting skills. While the Career Tributes show off, Peeta and Katniss learn to tie some knots and visit the camouflage station.
Peeta admits to Katniss that he does the beautiful frosting designs in the bakery. Haymitch insists they continue to train together and act friendly, though it strains them both. One of the tributes, Rue, reminds Katniss of Prim. Katniss is the last of the tributes to be seen by the Gamemakers. Though she displays her skills admirably, they pay no attention to her. In anger, she shoots the arrow out of their roasted pig’s mouth and storms out. Chapter eight summary Immediately upset after her outburst at the Gamemakers, Katniss runs to her room without consulting anyone. She worries about the effect her action may have on her family.
She is certain the Gamemakers will give her a low score on the scale of one to twelve. These scores are used to garner sponsors and are an indication of a tribute’s potential. At dinner, Peeta tells Haymitch the Gamemakers basically ignored him, and Katniss confesses that she shot at them. Haymitch does not think her family is in danger but he suspects they may be hard on Katniss in the arena. Instead, Peeta receives an eight and Katniss an eleven, giving them a real chance at sponsorship. In the early hours of dawn, Katniss thinks about Gale and their first encounter: she came across his rabbits snared in the woods.
Gale’s father died in the same accident as Katniss’s father, so they each were the heads of their households. They became friends, though Katniss feels they are much more than just friends. She compares her relationship with Peeta to her relationship with Gale: each thrown together in survival situations. On interview day, Katniss learns that Peeta wants to be coached separately. Chapter nine summary Katniss feels betrayed at Peeta’s request to be coached separately. She works with Effie first and dislikes walking in high heels. Effie tries to teach Katniss to smile, and that she will need the audience to like her.
Katniss’s session with Haymitch is disheartening: he cannot find an angle for her because she is so clearly contemptuous of the Games. After dinner, Katniss takes out her anger by smashing plates around the room. The redheaded Avox comes to clean it up and Katniss apologizes for not saving her. The girl makes her feel better. The next morning, Katniss is again primped and polished by the prep team, hoping Cinna will make her look so wonderful that no one will care what comes out of her mouth. Cinna’s dress for her is beautiful, and he suggests in her interview she just try to be herself. The audience admires her spirit.
Cinna suggests she talk to him during the interview since he will be sitting in the audience. All the tributes are lined up on the stage for the interviews, and Haymitch reminds Peeta and Katniss to pretend to be friends. Caesar Flickerman conducts the interviews and has been surgically altered to appear younger and thinner–in contrast, in District Twelve, old age is an achievement since not many people live to reach it. Each interview lasts three minutes, with Katniss taking notes of the sexy blonde from District One, the fox-faced girl from District Five, and Rue and Thresh from District Eleven.
Katniss makes it through her interview by being honest, like Cinna instructed: she talks of the lamb stew, her beautiful costumes, and volunteering for Prim. During Peeta’s interview, he admits to Caesar that he has feelings for Katniss. Chapter ten summary After Peeta’s declaration, Katniss is stunned, but the watching audience loves it. The huge screens show she and Peeta, now a tragic love story for the audience to grasp onto. After the interview, Katniss returns to the twelfth floor and pushes Peeta into flower urn, knocking him over.
She is angry that he has made her appear weak, but Haymitch explains he has actually made her desirable, which should could not have accomplished on her own. Portia explains that her reaction was perfect, and had she known about the declaration it would not have been as good. Katniss decides Peeta has given her an advantage and feels guilty for shoving him, since they will be in the arena tomorrow. Peeta and Katniss say goodbye to Effie and Haymitch. They will begin traveling to the arena at dawn with Cinna and Portia. Effie and Haymitch will be at the Games Headquarters signing up sponsors.
Haymitch suggests they run when the gong sounds at the Cornucopia and put distance between themselves and the other tributes. Katniss decides to keep the flame designs on her fingernails after her shower. Katniss cannot sleep, so she goes to the roof, where she encounters Peeta. He is hoping he will be able to die as himself, not made into a monster by the Games. He is certain he will die, which frustrates Katniss. Just before dawn, Cinna guides Katniss to the roof, where, in a hovercraft, a tracker is inserted under her forearm. After half an hour, they arrive at the arena and are taken to the Launch Room, or the Stockyard.
She and the other tributes will be dressed identically. Cinna puts the mockingjay pin on Katniss as her token from home. She sits with Cinna until launch, and he says he would bet on her to win if he could. Katniss rises in open air from her cylinder, and the Games begin. Chapter eleven summary Katniss and the other tributes stand on the metal circles for sixty seconds. The Cornucopia is filled with all kind of potentially life-saving survival tools, but Katniss has been instructed to run away from the bloodbath. Katniss thinks to run for the woods, but sees a bow and arrows in the pile of treasures.
She thinks Haymitch would want her to get them if he knew how fast she could run, but she glances at Peeta and he shakes his head. The momentary distraction means she misses her chance to get the bow and arrows, but she grabs a plastic sheet and a backpack, barely escaping the girl from District 2 and her knife-throwing. Katniss puts as much distance between her and the Cornucopia as possible. Later, the cannons reveal eleven tributes died, with thirteen left to play. Katniss worries about Peeta, hoping he is still alive. Katniss checks the contents of her bag: though there is a plastic bottle, it contains no water.
She decides to make camp in a willow tree, sets two twitch-up snares, and watches the anthem that informs them of the day’s deaths. She is relieved that Peeta is still alive. She wakes up hours later to someone who has started a fire below her, broadcasting their location to the Career Tributes. They are hunting in a pack and kill the girl, but the cannon does not go off so they send someone back to make sure she is finished. Katniss is shocked when she hears Peeta’s voice. Chapter twelve summary Katniss almost falls out of her tree when she hears Peeta’s voice with the Careers in chapter twelve.
Katniss feels that Peeta has betrayed her and District Twelve by throwing in his lot with the Careers. She wonders why Peeta has not told them about her skill with a bow. As she drops out of the tree and checks her snares, she gives the audience a knowing smile to throw everyone off track. She cooks a rabbit in the dead tribute’s fire, camouflages her pack with soot, and sets off to find water. She almost eats some berries for the juice, but has to stop because she is not sure they aren’t toxic. She is angry that Haymitch has not sent her water yet, but finally concludes that he is withholding it because she is close to finding it.
Just as she cannot go on any more, she falls into a pond. She adds iodine to purify the water and slowly drinks the entire half gallon, then another. She sets up camp in a tree and makes plans for the next day, but is awakened by a wall of fire. Chapter thirteen summary Katniss must run for her life from the Gamemaker-made wall of fire. She suspects the Gamemakers are trying to drive the tributes together in the arena. The tail of her jacket catches fire and she must put it out. Her lungs are burning and she has inhaled too much smoke. She rests by a rocky outcropping for a moment, but the Gamemakers begin hurling fireballs at her.
Though she has planned to return to the pond, all she has time to do is dodge fireballs. Part of her hair is singed off and her hands and calf are injured. She thinks of the irony of the girl who was on fire. She is afraid there is another tribute nearby, but the discovery of a pond is such relief for her burns that she decides to stay. She remembers her mother and Prim helping a burn victim, but she couldn’t take the sight of the wound and retreated to the woods to hunt. She falls asleep by the pond and awakes just in time to run from Peeta and the Careers.
She scurries up a tree and the Careers cannot follow her because they are too heavy. She is in pain, hungry, exhausted, and shocked when she discovers Rue is in the tree next to hers. Chapter fourteen summary Rue points out a tracker jacker nest to Katniss and is gone. The tracker jackers have poisonous stings that raise huge lumps and cause hallucinations. Katniss decides to saw off the branch with the nest during the anthem so the Careers cannot hear her. The tracker jackers are subdued by the smoke, which allows Katniss to partially saw through the branch.
She will saw through the rest at dawn. She has a small pot attached to a silver parachute on her sleeping bag–her first gift from a sponsor. It is medicine for her burns, extremely expensive and the effort of many sponsors. She wakes at dawn and the Careers and Peeta are asleep. She warns Rue that she is going to drop the nest and Rue leaps off through the trees. Three wasps sting her before the nest crashes to the ground, sending the Careers scattering and taking Glimmer out. Katniss runs back to her pond in case any tracker jackers are honing in on her.
Katniss remembers Glimmer has the bow and arrows and she goes back for them, despite the venom coursing through her veins. She takes the bow and arrows and is almost overcome by hallucinations, but Peeta returns just before the other Careers and tells her to run. She falls into a pit and blacks out. Chapter fifteen summary In chapter fifteen, Katniss wakes from her venom nightmares and is weak. She does not know how long she has been out and does not know which other tributes are still in the Games. She thinks of Gale and Peeta, and cannot fathom why Peeta saved her life.
Katniss’s hope is renewed with her retrieval of the bow and arrows, but she needs food and water. She shoots a rabbit and bathes in a stream, then travels uphill for a while and sets up a fire to cook her kills. Rue has been following her and they form an alliance, Katniss giving Rue food and Rue relieving Katniss’s tracker jacker stings with remedies she knows from District 11–Agriculture. They talk of their Districts and Katniss is surprised to learn that Rue has not ever had enough to eat in her life either. Rue shows Katniss the glasses in her pack are not sunglasses, they are for seeing in the dark.
They take to a tree and share Katniss’s sleeping bag. Rue tells her she has been unconscious for two days and Peeta is no longer with the Career. They have all the food and supplies, but Rue has given Katniss the idea for a plan to put them on the offense. Chapter sixteen summary Rue falls asleep and Katniss begins to think about destroying the Careers’ food supply. They are typically better fed than the other tributes and do not know how to be hungry. A cannon sounds and they are reminded that the numbers of players are dwindling. Katniss learns that Rue is the oldest of six kids and very protective of her siblings.
She forages for food regularly and her favorite thing in the world is music—she sings with mockingjays. They come up with a plan and Rue teaches Katniss her mockingjay song, a sign that she is fine but cannot make it to the rendezvous point. Katniss arrives at the Cornucopia and is confused by the placement of the food so far from their camp. Cato, the girl from District 2, and a scrawny boy from District 3 are the only people there. Katniss worries about Peeta. Cato and the others set off into the woods to find her, and she watches Foxface’s strange sequence of steps up to the food.
She realizes the boy from District 3 has dug up the mines and rewired them to protect the food. The mines are set off by pressure, so Katniss shoots at a bag of apples to set off the explosives. Chapter seventeen summary Katniss has vertigo from the explosions and a very damaged ear. She pulls her hood on to avoid blood trails and begins to crawl away because she is too dizzy to stand and walk. She crawls under some bushes at the base of a tree just as Cato rushes in to discover the damage. In a rage, he kills the boy from District 3 and they wait for the cannon, assuming whoever set off the mines is dead.
After the anthem that night they know the bomber survived, and they set off with night-vision glasses in search. Katniss puts on her own glasses and hunkers down for the night. In the morning she sees Foxface laughing and picking through the wreckage of the supplies. Katniss heads back to meet Rue, the hearing in one ear gradually getting better. She climbs a tree at their meeting place and eats much of her food, having a “hollow day. ” After waiting too long for Rue, Katniss goes to the third fire, which is unlit. She is convinced Rue is in trouble and sets off to help.
She hears Rue crying for help and finds her, but not in time to save her from the boy from District 1’s spear. Chapter eighteen summary Katniss sings Rue to her death after promising that she will win the Games. The mockingjays take up her song. Katniss thinks of Gale’s ravings against the Capitol and Peeta’s wish that he can remain himself and not be mutated by the Games. She wants to do something to show the Capitol they are not just pawns in a game, so she wreaths Rue’s body with flowers. She wanders the rest of the day and receives a loaf of bread from District 11, perhaps meant for Rue but now as a thank you to Katniss.
She dreams of Rue decorated in flowers, but awakens depressed and lonely. Thoughts of Prim’s face get her more motivated. The boy from District 1 carried only a pack of dried fruit for food and Katniss hopes they all carried so little food with them. She walks back toward the stream to hunt and kills some groosling. Katniss wishes she could tell Peeta she understands what he meant on the roof, and deals with the aftermath of her first real kill. Katniss’s lethargy in the tree vanishes when Claudius Templesmith announces the rule change: if two tributes from the same District are alive at the end of the Games, they can both live.
Chapter nineteen summary Katniss is horrified that she shouted Peeta’s name and may have given away her position. Katniss know their romance must be very popular with the audience for the rule change to have happened, and realizes Peeta must have been trying to protect her the whole time. The next day Katniss sets off carefully to find Peeta, figuring he must be near a source of water. She sets a fire to lead the Careers away from her search and heads for the stream. She finds him camouflaged in the muddy bank. She washes him off and tends to his burn and tracker jacker stings.
He is feverish and does not want to eat, and the wound in his leg is festering. Katniss drains the pus in his leg and helps him to a small cave, impulsively kissing him when he talks of dying. Instantly a silver parachute with broth appears, and she realizes they must pretend to be in love to save him. Chapter twenty summary Katniss tends to Peeta throughout the night, though she realizes she is much more vulnerable than she was before. Over the night, Peeta’s fever breaks and Katniss gathers berries for them to eat.
He keeps watch while she sleeps, stroking her hair comfortingly, but when she wakes his fever is back and his wound shows evidence of blood poisoning. She makes him soup by the stream and worries about the other tributes’ whereabouts. Peeta asks for Katniss to tell him a story, so she tells him how she got Prim’s goat. Really, she and Gale shot a buck and took it to Rooba the butcher, who gave them a good price and they decided to surprise their families with the money and venison steaks. She tells Peeta she traded her mother’s silver locket because she doesn’t want to get anyone from home in trouble for participating in the black market.
She resumes her story about Prim’s birthday, where she and Gale bought an injured goat previously meant for the butcher. Rooba refused to take the goat, winking at Katniss, and she and Gale gave it to Prim. Prim was ecstatic and healed the goat, which paid for itself many times over. Chapter twenty-one summary Katniss camouflages the entrance to the cave and takes stock of her equipment. She does not sleep because she cannot miss the dawn, but instead thinks of Prim and her mother at home in District 12. She leaves three hours before dawn with minimal supplies, kissing the sleeping Peeta goodbye and worrying about home and her ear.
Katniss takes her place at the Cornucopia, and as soon as the backpacks appear, Foxface has grabbed hers and run away. Katniss runs for her backpack and Clove throws a knife at her, which she dodges. Just as she gets to her backpack, Clove’s knife catches her in the forehead, blinding her with her own blood. Clove tackles her and plans to cut her mouth off, but is lifted off at the last moment by Thresh. He is angry that she may have had a hand in Rue’s death and kills her with a rock. He spares Katniss for Rue’s sake and she escapes, afraid that Cato will come after her in revenge for Clove’s death.
She is bleeding profusely but makes it back to the cave. She gives Peeta the medicine via hypodermic needle and notices a sliver and green moth landing on her wrist before she passes out. Chapter twenty-two summary Katniss wakes up in the cave feeling ill. Peeta is much improved and feeds her groosling and water. She explains to him about Rue, Clove, and Thresh, then says that he would not be able to understand owing someone something because he has always had enough to eat. Peeta tells her she knows why he helped her, and Haymitch said she would take a lot of convincing, though she does not understand.
Katniss does not want anyone else to die, but cannot say it out loud because it may lose her sponsors. She begins to cry and tells Peeta she wants to go home. He promises she will and she sleeps, waking only to eat the last of their supplies with him. He asks her not to die for him, but she counters his argument with the realization that she would be very upset if he died. Though in the back of her mind she is thinking of how the conversation is being played out all over Panem, she truly feels what she says. They trade off watch in the damp cave, hoping the weather will improve, but the deluge continues.
In an effort to get them food, Katniss ask Peeta when his crush on her started. He says it began on their first day of school, when his father admitted to having a crush on her mother, who ran off with a coal miner. He says he fell in love with her after hearing her sing at a music assembly and tried to work up the nerve to talk to her for eleven years without success. He jokes that he has no competition in the arena and Katniss replies he does not have competition anywhere. They are rewarded with the a gift of food from their sponsors. Chapter twenty-three summary
Katniss and Peeta eat the stew slowly so the rich food will not upset their stomachs. They talk about the fine houses they will live in if they win called the Victor’s Village. Peeta points out that Katniss and Haymitch are alike in many ways and they discuss how Haymitch won the Games, deciding he must have outsmarted all the others. Katniss wonders if his drinking began as a coping mechanism because so many of the tributes he mentored died. During the anthem they learn that Thresh is dead and Katniss is sad for him, though she cannot reveal the emotion to the audience.
Peeta takes the first watch and wakes Katniss later to eat goat cheese, which reminds her of home. She is surprised to learn that Peeta’s family had to eat stale items from the bakery; she assumed he was always well fed. Katniss worries what she will do with her life if she wins the Games. The next day the rain has stopped and they are back in the Games. They leave the cave to hunt and Peeta is too loud so they take off their shoes. He decides to gather food while Katniss hunts, though she worries Cato will find him.
Katniss finds food for them but panics when Peeta does not return her signals, though he has only been gathering berries by the stream. Katniss is angry at Peeta for eating some of the cheese, but it was Foxface. She ate the poison berries he had been gathering as well and the hovercraft takes away her body only yards away from Katniss and Peeta. Chapter twenty-four summary Katniss and Peeta save the rest of the nightlock, hoping perhaps they can trick Cato into eating them as well. They decide to stay put and cook their food, though it gives away their position to Cato.
He probably assumes they hunted and killed Foxface and were ready for him. Katniss wants to climb a tree for the night but Peeta wants to return to their cave. She relents, thinking how she needs to be nicer to him for the cameras. They make it back to the cave and Katniss kisses him on the forehead, not for the cameras but for herself. They eat and rest in the cave but the Gamemakers drain the stream, wanting them to go to the lake. They decide to go and fight Cato in the open and end the Games once and for all. They wait by the stream and sing Rue’s melody to the mockingjays.
When Cato finally appears, he is wearing body armor and is being chased by creatures. Chapter twenty-five summary The “muttations” chase them to the Cornucopia. Katniss makes it first and climbs up to try and protect Peeta. They make it up the Cornucopia and realize the muttations are the other tributes, genetically transformed. The three living tributes are momentarily safe on top of the Cornucopia, but Cato grabs Peeta in a headlock and a mutt takes a bite out of Peeta’s leg. Katniss cannot kill Cato without Peeta being dropped to the mutts below. Peeta makes an X on Cato’s hand with his own blood and Katniss shoots an arrow.
It goes through his hand and Peeta shoves him off the Cornucopia to the mutts below. Cato’s death is dragged out interminably by his body armor as the mutts work away at him. Katniss must tie a tourniquet around Peeta’s leg to stop the bleeding, and they huddle together in the freezing cold. Cato lasts through the night and Katniss must finally kill him with the arrow from Peeta’s tourniquet to put him out of his misery. The mutts vanish and Peeta and Katniss move away from the horn to await the hovercrafts. They go to the lake and the rule change is revoked—they have to kill each other after all.
Peeta asks for Katniss to kill him but she will not, and finally they agree to eat the poisonous berries together in defiance. Just before they can kill themselves with the berries, the Gamemakers congratulate them on being the winners of the Hunger Games. Chapter twenty-six summary Katniss and Peeta are taken away in a hovercraft, but Peeta has lost too much blood and passes out. He is taken away by doctors and Katniss watches from the other room, finally understanding why people who come to her mother with loved ones who are ill cannot leave.
She sees herself in the reflection and is startled by how frightening she looks. She is put under with a needle from behind and wakes up in a hospital bed, completely healed. The redheaded Avox girl assures her that Peeta is alive. Katniss exists for a while in the hospital bed eating and sleeping, and when she will not sleep she is intravenously knocked out. Finally she wakes and puts on her tribute outfit, following a long hallway where Effie, Haymitch, and Cinna wait for her. Cinna takes her to where Flavius, Octavia, and Venia are waiting to prep her.
In the end, the team makes her look like a young girl for her and Peeta’s live televised reunion. Just before she goes onstage, Haymitch tells her the Capitol is furious and her only protection is to pretend to have been blinded by love. Chapter twenty-seven summary Katniss understands Cinna’s costume choice–she needs to look non-threatening. She and Peeta kiss onstage and the audience goes wild. The sit to watch a three-hour recap of the Games. She notices Peeta has been playing the love angle the entire Games, while she does not seem accessible until her alliance with Rue and nursing Peeta back to health.
President Snow crowns them using two halves of the same crown, but Katniss feels his animosity. After the party, Katniss cannot sleep and discovers someone has locked her door from the outside. The next day she and Peeta have a televised interview with Caesar Flickerman. The interview goes well until Caesar mentions Peeta’s new leg, a prosthetic he needed because of Katniss’s tourniquet. When Caesar asks Katniss about the berries she answers safely that she couldn’t be without Peeta. They take a train to journey back to District Twelve and Katniss tells Peeta about Haymitch’s strategy.
He is hurt that she has done everything for the Games, and she is confused about her feelings for him and Gale. Characters Katniss Everdeen Katniss is the protagonist of the novel. She is a tough, self-sufficient, extremely loyal girl whose childhood was cut short by responsibility. After her father died, her mother sank into despair, so it was up to Katniss to feed the family. One evening, she was going through others’ trash in desperation when Peeta Mellark purposefully burned bread from his family’s bakery and gave it to her.
She feels a debt to him for that action, because after that she realizes the forest will be how to feed her family. She and her friend Gale regularly hunt wild game and gather food, selling some and keeping some for their families. Katniss dearly loves her younger sister Prim, so much so that she volunteers to go to the Hunger Games in Prim’s place. Though Katniss could very easily feel bitter toward her more sheltered sister, instead she is fiercely protective of her. During the Games, this protectiveness transfers to another young tribute named Rue.
Katniss has an edge over many of the other tributes because survival has not been hypothetical for her: for years she has been responsible for the life or death of her family. She was devastated by the death of her father, though she retains many of his fine talents and qualities. Throughout the training and the Games, she fights against feeling friendship for Peeta Mellark because she knows eventually she may have to kill him. She is confused by the prep team presenting them together and dressing them in similar costumes: though Peeta seems friendly enough toward her, it is too much of an inner conflict for her to become his friend.
She is floored when he professes his love for her in the interview, though it turns out to be a brilliant strategy for both of them. Katniss’s survival instincts are in full swing during the Games, mostly because she is doing many of the same things she does at home: hunt, gather, and climb trees whenever danger threatens. She is not an overly emotional person—except with her sister, Prim—and her feelings generally confuse her throughout the story, especially her feelings for Peeta and Gale. She has never had time for romance in her life because she has been to busy worrying about her family’s survival.
She never wants to fall in love, get married, or have children because she would feel guilty bringing a child into a world where their name could be drawn for the Games. Katniss knows something is deeply wrong with her society, and though she is not overtly rebellious, her sense of morality causes her to take a few jabs at the powers that be: covering Rue with flowers, for instance, was a way to remind them the tributes are still human. She does not understand Gale’s rants about the Capitol or Peeta’s worries about retaining his sense of self until Rue’s death.
She has always accepted the world and done what she needed to do to survive, but after Rue’s death, she wants something more. Teaming up with Peeta gives her something and someone with which to work. It reminds her of her huge capacity for caring, though such emotions confuse her. Because even if she–Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire–survives the Games, it would be a hollow victory without Peeta. Killing him would be unforgivable in Katniss’s eyes because of the kindness he gave her so long ago, without which she could not have survived.
Though Katniss is a strong survivor and very clever, it is her humanity and capacity to care for others that gives her the will to win the Games. Peeta Mellark Peeta is the second tribute from District Twelve, oddly pitted against the girl with whom he has been in love since childhood. Peeta is the baker’s son, a hard worker, and strong. Through Katniss’s eyes, the reader learns that Peeta has an easy smile and is a genuinely kind person. His decision to help the young and starving Katniss as children gives insight to his character: he has a great capacity for kindness and compassion.
He burns the rolls on purpose, receiving sharp words from his horrible mother, and when told to throw them to the animals, he makes sure to put them within Katniss’s reach. He was punished for his compassion, though the reader gets the sense that even had he known his punishment in advance, he still would have helped Katniss. Even in the Games, Peeta only thinks of protecting Katniss: though she thinks he is playing an angle to win the audience over, he is truly in love with her and cannot bear the thought of any harm coming to her.
He is also realistic and knows his chances of winning the Games are not good. He asks Katniss to see his family when she wins, sure he will die in the arena. Peeta is also deeply introspective: while the night before their deployment, Katniss thinks of strategies to best their opponents, he muses on the roof, worried about losing his humanity to the brutality of the Games. Katniss does not understand his concern with his inner self because she has always had to worry about the basics: food, shelter, family. While
Peeta was not always as well fed as she thought, he still has had an easier life than Katniss and perhaps that life afforded him a more introspective attitude. Peeta is artistic as well, confessing that he decorates the cakes in the windows at the bakery. Though he is strong enough to toss around sacks of flour, the reader gets the sense that he is very much a lover, not a fighter. Even at the very end of the Games, when they are cruelly pitted against one another once more, Peeta immediately requests for Katniss to kill him. He cares for her more than he cares for himself, and though his request is dramatic, it reveals his true feelings.
He knows that he would be dead without Katniss and he owes her—he does not understand the debt the same way she and Thresh and Gale understand such debt, but even through his pain and weakness, he is trying to give her back her life. The moment with the berries is a mutually understood moment between them: if they cannot both live, then they will both die. For Peeta, this moment is very much the star-crossed lovers moment, while Katniss is thinking more politically: they have to have a victor for the Hunger Games, so the only way to ensure that they both survive is to threaten to take away any victor at all.
Peeta is very hurt when Katniss talks to him about the strategy of their love because he has always been telling the truth about his feelings for her. It is painful for him that she has been simply playing the Game and trying to keep them safe, though her overall confusion about her feelings for him means she could potentially decide in his favor. He has no idea the political danger they may be in, all he worries about are his feelings for the girl he loves. Primrose Everdeen Primrose, nicknamed Prim, is Katniss’s gentle younger sister.
She has just turned twelve when her name is drawn for the Games, though Katniss volunteers rather than let her go to her death. Prim is different from Katniss in almost every way: she is pale and blond like their mother while Katniss is darker colored like their father, and Prim dislikes hunting and killing things. Prim is a healer, like their mother. She talked Katniss into letting her keep a mean old cat and then named him Buttercup, insisting his ugly yellow color looked like the flower. She also nursed a goat—a gift from Katniss—back to health and provides the family with cheese and milk to eat and sell.
Prim is beloved by all for her innocence and gentleness, though there is a certain strength present in her as well. While Katniss cannot stand to stay in the room when wounded or extremely ill people come to their house for help, Prim assists her mother with the medicines and remedies no matter how ugly the wound or disease. However, Katniss was unsuccessful when she tried to teach Prim to hunt, since Prim only wanted to save the stricken animals. Katniss and Prim each have a great capacity to feel for others, though Prim is more overtly empathetic than Katniss.
Prim also forgives their mother after her depression, which Katniss can never quite bring herself to do. Prim is innocent but not naive, and her genuine sweetness wins her favor with the other residents of the Seam. She makes Katniss promise to come back after the Games, perhaps knowing her older sister cannot resist trying her best after making such a promise. In fact, the thought of Prim at home keeps Katniss going multiple times throughout the Games. She knows she must try her best to come home for her sister. Gale Gale is Katniss’s best friend and hunting partner.
He is older than Katniss but in a similar situation: he is the sole supporter and breadwinner for his mother and six siblings. Gale is somewhat mysterious, befriending young Katniss in the woods and forming an alliance with her. They hunt together and share their skills and spoils, bonded by responsibility to their families. They have each had to take out multiple tesserae, thus entering their names multiple times into the pool for the Reaping. Gale’s feelings for Katniss seem to be only friendship, except for his strange comment the day of the Reaping: he suggests they run away together.
Katniss is shocked and confused by his comment, since they each shoulder so much responsibility for their families. He brushes the comment off but a seed has been planted in her mind about Gale, and how his feelings about her may be different than she thought. Gale is contemptuous toward the Capitol and toward those who have easy lives: his outburst at Madge is unwarranted, but he is passionate about his frustrations with the system. Throughout the Games, Katniss ruminates over her relationship with Gale, unexpectedly comparing him to Peeta.
It is unclear how Gale will react to their performances in the Games, but Katniss wants to see him and wishes for everything to return to normal. Themes Morality Katniss and the others live in a world that was once North America, and the values in this world are eerily twisted. People are routinely dehumanized in this world, and the government is oppressive and omnipresent. In the Seam many people live in a state of fear, whether of starvation or sickness, and in other Districts people are commonly whipped or killed for trifling matters.
The novel maintains a strong sense of right and wrong: the protagonist knows there is something seriously wrong with Panem, though she has been to busy helping her family survive to really ruminate on the problem. Pitting children against one another in a fight to the death is not simply a twisted entertainment for Panem—it is a reminder to the Districts just how much the Capitol can control their lives. It is cruel to treat children’s deaths as a game, and wrong that the Capitol lives so richly off the rest of the country’s toil.
Katniss’s sense of morality comes through very strongly in the arena. She does not bow to bloodlust like many of the other tributes, nor does she prey on tributes who are weaker than she: instead, she takes to the woods to do what she must for herself. Even when kills are attributed to her, they are rarely because she is being competitive: the tracker jacker nest was an indirect method for her to get out of her trap in the tree, and the boy who killed Rue traded a life for a life as far as Katniss was concerned.
She even kills Cato, her great enemy who showed no pity toward anyone whatsoever, out of mercy. The muttations slowly worked at killing him the entire night, and Katniss felt none of her former animosity: only pity for a boy in horrible pain, who had been thinking of his own death for hours. Katniss’s poaching in the woods is a survival tactic, though technically against the law, and she is still selflessly supporting others. The Gamemakers are completely immoral, purposefully putting people in horrifying situations.
The reader gets the sense that there is much more going on underneath the surface in regards to the Hunger Games, and the people of Panem are not getting the full story from their government. Survival The Hunger Games are essentially about survival of the fittest: who can be the strongest, smartest, or trickiest to survive all the other tributes and the Gamemakers’ brutal devices. Katniss has always had to worry about survival since her father died. When her mother sank into a catatonic depression, young Katniss suddenly became the breadwinner of the family, a huge responsibility for such a young girl.
Her disappointment in her mother and terror at the new pressures she faced caused her to cut herself off emotionally from her mother: to do what she needed for her family, she could not be hindered by the torturous thoughts of her mother’s abandonment. She also knew she must take on the hardships for Prim, who was very young and fragile at the time. Without Katniss to step up to the plate, Prim surely would have died of starvation or sickness, and probably their mother as well. Katniss survived emotionally by becoming angry at her mother instead of sad, and physically by taking to the forest to hunt for and gather food.
These very basic needs for survival—food, shelter, and livelihood—kept Katniss too busy for her to think about solutions to the overarching problems in her society. Peeta and Gale are more introspective and worry about their inner selves as well as their physical well-being. Gale’s rants against the Capitol’s strategy to keep the rich and poor completely isolated smack of political rebellion, though he too has too much on his plate with the responsibility of his family. When faced with the Games, Peeta worries about his identity.
He does not want the Games to turn him into some monster; he would rather die than let the Gamemakers take his humanity from him. This is difficult for Katniss to understand because she is so focused on the nuts-and-bolts aspect of it all, the basic needs to find shelter, food, and water, though eventually she understands. Physical survival is important in the Games, but if they take from someone their sense of self, even if they continue walking and breathing it is as if they have died anyway.
The Games are meant to dehumanize the tributes, so the most important thing for Katniss and Peeta to accomplish is to come out of them with mental faculties intact: their identities, beliefs, and values still in them somewhere. They must come out of the Games not hardened killers, but compassionate human beings. Outer Beauty versus Inner Beauty Katniss talks of the difficulties of life in the Seam: shortage of food, dangerous working environments, and limited life expectancy. She describes the people as plain and somewhat downtrodden, though her bonds with Gale and Prim are extremely strong.
Katniss’s plainness is not apparent to the reader until she enters the Capitol and meets her prep team for the first time: Octavis, Flavius, and Venia, who remind her of ridiculous birds. In the Capitol great importance is placed on one’s physical appearance: whereas in the Seam, a round belly is a sign of success, in the Capitol it is considered unattractive. In the Seam, an elderly person is respected for his or her longevity, but in the Capitol, people have their faces surgically altered to look younger.
It is a comment on the rampant face-lifts and liposuctions in our own present-day society: when push comes to shove, how much does outer appearance really matter compared to what is inside? The prep team makes Katniss up, though they spend three hours scrubbing a lifetime of hard work they see as ugliness off her body. Even when she is made beautiful by the team, Katniss does not change on the inside—her reluctant compassion for others and hard-won survival instincts are still there, despite being wrapped in a prettier package.
To her, the styles in the Capitol are ridiculous and completely frivolous. She resents these people who have everything handed to them and nothing to do with their time but have their hair done and talk about eyebrow dyes. For Katniss, it is still the inside of a person that counts, and no amount of skin polish or glittering costumes can change who that person essentially is. The image-obsessed Capitol has clearly lost such a perspective, thus taking advantage of the other districts and dehumanizing the people who live there and cannot spare time to worry about their appearances.
Style Point of View The entire story takes place in first person from Katniss’s point of view. This adds to the excitement in the novel because the reader, like the protagonist, has no idea what is coming next. The reader feels very much along for the ride instead of coolly observing the events through a third party if the novel were in third person or third person omniscient. Because of the first person tense, the reader only has as much information about the other characters as the protagonist.
This adds to the dramatic impact of some of the major moments in the story: for instance, that Peeta is truly in love with Katniss. The action scenes are clear and descriptive despite being told through a person who is living them. It is extremely useful to be able to hear the protagonist’s thoughts: this is a device the author uses multiple times to fill the reader in on the world of the novel. The reader learns about Katniss and many of her relationships through flashbacks or memories, and even learns about her deepest fears from dreams and hallucinations.
Though Katniss is very responsible and matter-of-fact, she is still a young girl and much of her thoughts are devoted to confused feelings for the two love interests in her life: Peeta and Gale. This is typical for a girl of her age, though she is clearly uncomfortable discussing her feelings and is not actually sure what her feelings are for each of the boys. Her point of view also gives the reader a strong lead to form an opinion about the state of Panem: the reader is meant to view the Hunger Games and the subsequent media hype as wrong.
Katniss’s point of view offers a guide to the reader, both as an insider understanding of the world of Panem and a behind-the-scenes insight into Katniss herself. Setting The story is set in the state of Panem, formerly North America, destroyed in a long-ago conflict that obliterated the mysterious District Thirteen. Twelve Districts remain, each with a specific function to the country as a whole: District Eleven is Agriculture, District Twelve mines coal, District One makes luxury goods, etc. Katniss, the story’s protagonist, lives in the coal-mining District Twelve.
More specifically, she lives in the poorer section of their town called the Seam, where the coal miners and laborers reside. As a contrast to this downtrodden world, she escapes beyond the fences to the woods, a place of abundance where she and Gale can make a living and feed their families. Though the woods are a source of life, they are also dangerous, with roaming packs of wild animals and the danger of being caught by authorities outside the fence. Katniss and Peeta train for the Games in the Capitol, a shining city of abundance located in the area formerly known as the Rocky Mountains.
The Capitol is extremely different from the Seam with its gleaming towers, image-obsessed people, and automatic gadgets. The tributes stay at the Training Center in luxury for a few nights, then are transferred to the arena. It is a wooded area with a large golden Cornucopia at the center. The landscape is at the mercy of the Gamemakers but suits Katniss, whose survival experience is in the woods anyway. Katniss and Peeta spend a few nights in a small cozy cave before they decide the Games must end. Upon their return to District Twelve, they will reside in the Victor’s Village in luxury houses reserved for Game Winners.