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Analysis

Berries

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

In The Hunger Games, Katniss got herself and Peeta out of the arena by offering him some poisonous berries and threatening a double suicide. The officials were not amused. (Click here to read all about the importance of the berries in The Hunger Games.) Later, berries come to symbolize a precious clue to her identity in her own mind:

The berries. I realize the answer to who I am lies in that handful of poisonous fruit. If I held them out to save Peeta because I knew I would be shunned if I came back without him, then I am despicable. If I held them out because I loved him, I am still self-centered, although forgivable. But if I held them out to defy the Capitol, I am someone of worth. The trouble is, I don't know exactly what was going on inside me at that moment. (8.87)

The berries don't really feature much in the later action of the book, but the ramifications of Katniss' actions do, as she and Peeta are forced back into the arena and she has to make these decisions all over again. Who is she? Does she really love Peeta? And, most urgently, is she part of the newly forming revolution? It seems like Katniss keeps bumping up against these questions, although she refuses to commit to anything. (Still interested? Read all about it in Katniss' identity crisis in "Characters: Katniss Everdeen.")

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