Study Guide

Catching Fire Admiration

By Suzanne Collins


Chapter 1

Not only are we in the districts forced to remember the iron grip of the Capitol's power each year, we are forced to celebrate it. And this year, I am one of the stars of the show. I will have to travel from district to district, to stand before the cheering crowds who secretly loathe me, to look down into the faces of the families whose children I have killed. (1.3)

This Capitol values the appearance of admiration rather than admiration itself. The admiration the people show for the "stars of the show," their "cheering," is all false. They don't really admire the winners of the Games; they are "secretly loath[ing]" all of it.

Chapter 4

Every person in the crowd presses the three middle fingers of their left hand against their lips and extends them to me. It's our sign from District 12, the last good-bye I gave Rue in the arena.

If I hadn't spoken to President Snow, this gesture might move me to tears. But with his recent orders to calm the districts fresh in my ears, it fills me with dread. What will he think of this very public salute to the girl who defied the Capitol? (4.87-88)

Getting accolades isn't always a positive thing, as Katniss finds out. Here she's being saluted for her bravery and her work in the arena. But to an outside eye, like Snow's, this "salute" is seen as a threat. While Katniss didn't ask for any recognition, it makes her look like she's starting a rebellion, and the realization of this fact "fills [her] with dread."

Chapter 8

I'm filled with awe, as I always am, as I watch her transform from a woman who calls me to kill a spider to a woman immune to fear. When a sick or dying person is brought to her . . . this is the only time I think my mother knows who she is. (8.39)

Katniss has a rocky relationship with her mother. She mentally abandoned her children when they were small and forced Katniss into taking responsibility for the family. In many situations Katniss' mother is afraid of even the tiniest thing. Yet when she's in the healing zone, she's "immune to fear." She can care for other people and even save their lives. This is pretty much the opposite of Katniss, who falls to pieces when a person she knows is hurt.

Bundled against the cold, my face free of makeup, my braid tucked carelessly under my coat, it wouldn't be easy to identify me as the victor of the last Hunger Games. [...] But Haymitch has been showing up on television for years, and he'd be difficult to forget. (8.6)

With status and recognition comes power, even in limited ways. Haymitch trades on his reputation and recognition to intervene in Gale's beating. Because he's "been showing up on television for years," he has authority; he's someone powerful because he's well known. That's enough to protect Gale and Katniss, at least for a little while.

Chapter 15

 . . . as we begin to glow, I can see people pointing at us and chattering, and I know that, once again, we'll be the talk of the opening ceremonies. (15.51)

Winning the Games isn't just about being the best; it's also about luck and looking the part. Peeta and Katniss know by now how to work the media – or at least their advisers do. Both Portia, Peeta's stylist, and Cinna seem to have a sixth sense about how to present their charges so they have the best chance of captivating the media and winning sponsors.

Chapter 16

I forget the rest of the gym and the victors and how miserable I am and lose myself in the shooting. When I manage to take down five birds in one round, I realize it's so quiet I can hear each one hit the floor. I turn and see the majority of the victors have stopped to watch me. Their faces show everything from envy to hatred to admiration. (16.79)

Katniss has a special quality and talent going into the Games: she's a killer archer (pun intended). That makes her a formidable opponent and potential ally. The other tributes can all see it; their reactions differ, but they all want Katniss on their team.

Chapter 21

Although my instinct is to run directly away from it, I realize Finnick is moving at a diagonal down the hill. He's trying to keep a distance from the gas while steering us toward the water that surrounds the Cornucopia. <em>Yes, water,</em> I think as the acid droplets bore deeper into me. Now I'm so thankful I didn't kill Finnick, because how would I have gotten Peeta out of here alive? (21.14)

Here Katniss admires Finnick for his basic survival skills, not his beauty or sex appeal. Katniss is a great asset to have on your side in the arena, but so is Finnick. Neither is perfect, and each of them needs the other in order to survive a little while longer.

Chapter 22

By the time we pull ourselves together, I'm thinking that maybe Finnick Odair is all right. At least not as vain or self-important as I'd thought. Not so bad at all, really. (22.42)

This is some of the most honest admiration we hear in <em>Catching Fire</em>. Usually the masses admire characters like Katniss and Peeta because of what they're posing as: the "star-crossed lovers" who've been made up and groomed by expert media teams. In the arena, though, people's true colors come out. Finnick's popular persona is admired, but Katniss admires his real self even more.

Chapter 24
Peeta Mellark

He puts the chain with the locket around my neck, then rests his hand over the spot where our baby would be. "You're going to make a great mother, you know," he says. (24.89)

It's hard to know whether or not to take Peeta's admiration at face value here. Does he honestly think Katniss is going to be "a great mother" (someday), or is just playing for the audience, who thinks she's pregnant? Is this a ploy to encourage Katniss to live?

Chapter 25

There's nothing patronizing in [Beetee's] voice, and yet I can't help thinking he reminds me of a schoolteacher about to ease children into a lesson. Perhaps it's the age difference, or simply that Beetee is probably about a million times smarter than the rest of us. (25.18)

Each tribute has a skill that's valuable in the arena. For Beetee, it's his technical wizardry. He sees the arena with the strategy of a mechanic, picturing a weapon where others see nothing of value. Put this together with the others' skills, like Katniss' hunting prowess, and you've got a formidable team.