Study Guide

The Hunger Games Quotes

  • Politics

    Chapter 1

    When I was younger, I scared my mother to death, the things I would blurt out about District 12, about the people who rule our country, Panem, from the far-off city called the Capitol. Eventually I understood this would only lead us to more trouble. So I learned to hold my tongue and to turn my features into an indifferent mask so that no one could ever read my thoughts. (1.11)

    Free speech, we learn, is not a given in Panem. Katniss censors herself because of the fears her mother has of the government. Notice how she has to hide her thoughts and her emotions in District 12. Notice too that she will have to do the same in the arena during the Hunger Games.

    The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins. (1.75)

    The Hunger Games, we learn, are a kind of punishment for the uprising that happened so long ago. Why are the Hunger Games so effective, do you think, at keeping the districts from rebelling again?

    Chapter 2

    To the everlasting credit of the people of District 12, not one person claps. Not even the ones holding betting slips, the ones who are usually beyond caring. Possibly because they know me from the Hob, or knew my father, or have encountered Prim, who no one could help loving. So instead of acknowledging applause, I sand there unmoving while they take part in the boldest form of dissent they can manage. Silence. Which says we do not agree. We do not condone. All of this is wrong. (2.16)

    For the people of District 12, the most powerful protest of the Hunger Games comes in the form of silence. They refuse to take part in forced festivity of the event after Katniss sacrifices herself for her sister.

    Chapter 6
    Haymitch Abernathy

    "Whose idea was the hand holding?" asks Haymitch.

    "Cinna's," says Portia.

    "Just the perfect touch of rebellion," says Haymitch. (6.32-34)

    The tributes' gesture is read as a symbol of protest. Is it also about getting the attention from the audience?

    Chapter 9

    All I can think is how unjust the whole thing is, the Hunger Games. Why am I hopping around like some trained dog trying to please people I hate? The longer the interview goes on, the more my fury seems to rise to the surface, until I'm literally spitting out answers at him. (9.22)

    Katniss has to hide what she knows: that the Hunger Games are unjust and terrible. Unable to speak her mind, she seethes with anger.

    Chapter 14

    After the war, the Capitol destroyed all the nests surrounding the city, but the ones near the districts were left untouched. Another reminder of our weakness, I suppose, just like the Hunger Games. Another reason to keep inside the fence of District 12. (14.3)

    We learn that the mutant tracker jackers were a form of governmental control. They were placed around the districts to keep people from leaving their regions.

    Chapter 15

    It's interesting, hearing about her life. We have so little communication with anyone outside our district. In fact, I wonder if the Gamemakers are blocking out our conversation, because even though the information seems harmless, they don't want people in different districts to know about one another. (15.46)

    The Gamemakers control the information each District has about the other. How does this help the government?

    Chapter 18

    Gale's voice is in my head. His ravings against the Capitol no longer pointless, no longer to be ignored. Rue's death has forced me to confront my own fury against the cruelty, the injustice they inflict upon us. But here, even more strongly than at home, I feel my impotence. There's no way to take revenge on the Capitol. Is there?

    Then I remember Peeta's words on the roof. "Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to …to show the Capitol they don't own me. That I'm more than just a piece in their Games." And for the first time, I understand what he means. (18.36-37)

    Both Gale and Peeta have voiced their frustrations about the government, and here Katniss finally gets where they're coming from. How does she decide to take revenge on the Capitol?

    Chapter 26

    So I still have a chance, though. Funny, in the arena, when I poured out those berries, I was only thinking of outsmarting the Gamemakers, not how my actions would reflect on the Capitol. But the Hunger Games are their weapon and you are not supposed to be able to defeat it. So now the Capitol will act as if they've been in control the whole time. As if they orchestrated the whole event, right down to the double suicide. But that will only work if I play along with them. (26.65)

    The Hunger Games are all about the power of the Capitol, so they've got to appear to be in control. How does Katniss and Peeta's double suicide stunt undermine their authority?

    Chapter 27

    Something inside me shuts down and I'm too numb to feel anything. It's like watching complete strangers in another Hunger Games. But I do notice they omit the part where I covered her in flowers.

    Right. Because even that smacks of rebellion. (27.7-8)

    The Hunger Games are entertainment for the people of Panem, but they're also a form of propaganda for the government. Therefore, all acts of rebellion will be censored from the final edit of the show.

  • Love

    Chapter 1
    Gale Hawthorne

    "We could do it, you know," Gale says quietly.

    "What?" I ask.

    "Leave the district. Run off. Live in the woods. You and I, we could make it," says Gale.

    I don't know how to respond. This idea is so preposterous. (1.23-26)

    Katniss won't even consider the idea of running away with Gale because of her duty to her family and her obligations back home. If she weren't her family's breadwinner, would she be more interested in running off with Gale?

    Even though it was years ago, I think he still remembers how I tried to drown him in a bucket when Prim brought him home. Scrawny kitten, belly swollen with worms, crawling with fleas. The last thing I needed was another mouth to feed. But Prim begged so hard, cried even, I had to let him stay. It turned out okay. My mother got rid of the vermin and he's a born mouser. Even catches the occasional rat. Sometimes, when I clean a kill, I feed Buttercup the entrails. He has stopped hissing at me.

    Entrails. No hissing. This is the closest we will ever come to love. (1.3-4)

    Katniss describes her relationship with the family cat, Buttercup. She attempted to drown the cat because she knew that she would be unable to feed it. How does the family's poverty keep Katniss from getting very attached to animals…or people?

    Chapter 2

    To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope, and the dandelion that reminded me that I was not doomed. And more than once, I have turned in the school hallway and caught his eyes trained on me, only to quickly flit away. (2.48)

    The connection between Peeta and Katniss is based on a sacrifice that he made for her – bringing her a loaf of bread when her family was starving. But does that mean Katniss loves Peeta? How does she feel about him?

    Chapter 3

    Finally, Gale is here and maybe there is nothing romantic between us, but when he opens his arms I don't hesitate to go into them. His body is familiar to me – the way it moves, the smell of wood smoke, even the sound of his heart beating I know from quiet moments on a hunt – but this is the first time I really feel it, lean and hard-muscled against my own. (3.28)

    Katniss denies feeling romantically about Gale, but, um, we're starting to think otherwise. Why do you think she resists thinking of Gale in that special hearts and flowers way? Can she ever really think about love if she's only dedicated to her own survival? Is this why she doesn't want to have children?

    Chapter 8

    I call him my friend, but in the last year it's seemed to casual a word for what Gale is to me. A pang of longing shoots through my chest. If only he was with me now! But, of course, I don't want that. I don't want him in the arena where he'd be dead in a few days. (8.58)

    Ah, longing! Katniss again discusses her feelings for Gale, and while her emotions aren't fully developed, we're beginning to think that given a little time, things could totally heat up for these two. Would they be a good match?

    Chapter 10

    But now Peeta has made me an object of love. Not just his. To hear him tell it I have many admirers. And if the audience really thinks we're in love…I remember how strongly they responded to his confession. Star-crossed lovers. Haymitch is right, they eat that stuff up in the Capitol. (10.33)

    Appearing to be in love with Peeta will have major advantages for Katniss. But why is this romance plot so important? How does Peeta's crush make Katniss desirable to other people?

    Chapter 19
    Haymitch Abernathy

    Haymitch couldn't be sending me a clearer message. One kiss equals one pot of broth. I can almost hear his snarl. "You're supposed to be in love, sweetheart. The boy's dying. Give me something I can work with!"

    And he's right. If I want to keep Peeta alive, I've got to give the audience something more to care about. Star-crossed lovers desperate to get home together. Two hearts beating as one. Romance. (19.92-93)

    Katniss discovers that by playing up the tragic "love" angle she may just be able to win the Games. We can also see here that Katniss really doesn't have much of a choice: if she wants food and supplies, she's going to have to smooch Peeta. Repeatedly.

    Chapter 22

    This is the first kiss that we're both fully aware of. Neither of us hobbled by sickness or pain or simply unconscious. Our lips neither burning with fever or icy cold. This is the first kiss where I actually feel stirring inside my chest. Warm and curious. This is the first kiss that makes me want another. (22.75)

    Excuse us? She wants another kiss? Well, well. Looks like Katniss does feel something after all. But what? Can pretending she's in love actually make Katniss in love?

    Chapter 25
    Peeta Mellark

    I spread out my fingers, and the dark berries glisten in the sun. I give Peeta's hand one last squeeze as a signal, as a good-bye, and we begin counting. "One." Maybe I'm wrong. "Two." Maybe they don't care if we both die. "Three!" It's too late to change my mind. I lift my hand to my mouth, taking one last look at the world. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare. (25.93)

    Like Romeo and Juliet, Peeta and Katniss decide to end it all at the end of the Games. The double suicide stunt allows Katniss and Peeta to win the game – together. But what will be the consequences?

    Chapter 26
    Haymitch Abernathy

    "Listen up. You're in trouble. Word is the Capitol's furious about you showing them up in the arena. The one thing they can't stand is being laughed at and they're the joke of Panem," says Haymitch.

    I feel dread coursing through me now, but I laugh as though Haymitch is saying something completely delightful because nothing is covering my mouth. "So what?"

    "Your only defense can be you were so madly in love you weren't responsible for your actions." (26.55-57)

    The Games might be over, but pretending to be love turns out to be the only defense Katniss will have against the Capitol.

  • Society and Class

    Chapter 1

    You can see why someone like Madge, who has never been at risk of needing a tessera, can set him off. The chance of her name being drawn is very slim compare to those of us who live in the Seam. Not impossible, but slim. And even though the rules were set up by the Capitol, not the districts, certainly not Madge's family, it's hard not to resent those who don't have to sign up for the tesserae. (1.51)

    The tesserae make the poor in District 12 more vulnerable during the reaping (that is, the selection of the tributes). The result is a tension between the upper and lower classes, such as we see in the interaction between Gale and Madge, the rich mayor's daughter.

    Chapter 3

    I can't win. Prim must know that in her heart. The competition will be far beyond my abilities. Kids from wealthier districts, where winning is a huge honor, who've been trained their whole lives for this. Boys who are two to three times my size. Girls who know twenty different ways to kill you with a knife. Oh, there'll be people like me, too. People to weed out before the real fun begins. (3.13)

    Much like the reaping, the Hunger Games favor the rich: those who can afford the time and training it takes to compete. The Career Tributes (those who have been preparing for the Games all their lives) are therefore at an incredible advantage.

    Chapter 5

    I try to imagine assembling this meal myself back home. Chickens are too expensive, but I could make do with a wild turkey. I'd need to shoot a second turkey to trade for an orange. Goat's milk would have to substitute for cream. We can grow peas in the garden. I'd have to get wild onions from the woods. I don't recognize the grain, our own tessera rations cook down to an unattractive brown mush. Fancy rolls would mean another trade with the baker, perhaps for two or three squirrels. As for the pudding, I can't even guess what's in it. Days of hunting and gathering for this one meal and even then it would be a poor substitution for the Capitol version. (5.26)

    The Capitol is a place of seemingly infinite wealth, especially compared with District 12. One meal of theirs, as Katniss notes, would take her days to assemble. How does this make life in the Capitol different?

    Chapter 7

    The exceptions are the kids from the wealthier districts, the volunteers, the ones who have been fed and trained throughout their lives for this moment. The tributes from 1, 2, and 4 traditionally have this look about them. It's technically against the rules to train tributes before they reach the Capitol but it happens every year. In District 12, we call them the Career Tributes, or just the Careers. And like as not, the winner will be one of them. (7.51)

    Katniss finally meets the kids from the rich districts in the Training Center. The wealth of their region has given them a decided leg up over the competition. Why do you think their districts see competing in the Games as an honor?

    Chapter 9

    They do surgery in the Capitol, to make people appear younger and thinner. In District 12, looking old is something of an achievement since so many people die early. You see an elder person, you want to congratulate them on their longevity, ask the secret of survival. A plump person is envied because they aren't scraping by like the majority of us. But here it is different. Wrinkles aren't desirable. A round belly isn't a sign of success. (9.74)

    Katniss explains the different attitudes about weight and age in the Capitol and District 12. Most of it has to do with economics. How does this compare with how we live now?

    Chapter 11

    So they're fighting in a pack. I'm not really surprised. Often alliances are formed in the early stages of the Games. The strong band together to hunt down the weak then, when the tension becomes too great, begin to turn on one another. I don't have to wonder too hard who has made this alliance. It'll be the remaining Career Tributes from Districts 1, 2, and 4. Two boys and three girls. The ones who lunched together. (11.38)

    The Career Tributes, the kids from the rich districts, have teamed up to pick off the weak contestants. This includes the players from the poor districts…like Katniss.

    Chapter 18

    I open the parachute and find a small loaf of bread. It's not the fine white Capitol stuff. It's made of dark ration grain and shaped in a crescent. Sprinkled with seeds. I flash back to Peeta's lesson on the various district breads in the Training Center. This bread came from District 11. I cautiously lift the still warm loaf. What must it have cost the people of District 11 who can't even feed themselves? How many would've had to do without to scrape up a coin to put in the collection for this one loaf? (18.48)

    The people of District 11 send Katniss a loaf of bread after Rue's death. Why is the loaf of bread so important to Katniss?

    Chapter 22

    It's not that Peeta's soft exactly, and he's proved he's not a coward. But there are things you don't question too much, I guess, when your home always smells like baking bread, whereas Gale questions everything. What would Peeta think of the irreverent banter that passes between us as we break the law each day? Would it shock him? The things we say about Panem? Gale's tirades against the Capitol? (22.57)

    According to Katniss, Gale and Peeta have different views about the Capitol. She says the reason for this is that Gale is poor and Peeta is not. Do you agree with her?

    Chapter 26
    Katniss Everdeen

    "I was still in bed!" "I had just had my eyebrows dyed!" "I swear I nearly fainted!" Everything is about them, not the dying boys and girls in the arena.

    We don't wallow around in the Games this way in District 12. We grit our teeth and watch because we must and try to get back to business as soon as possible when they're over. To keep from hating the prep team, I effectively tune out most of what they're saying. (26.36-37)

    Katniss overhears the stylists in her prep team dishing about the Games as if they were talking about the latest episode of The Bachelor. We learn that the affluent society of the Capitol experiences the Hunger Games very differently than District 12. For them, it is mere entertainment.

    Rue

    "They have all those supplies," Rue says.

    "Say they didn't. Say the supplies were gone. How long would they last?" I say. "I mean, it's the Hunger Games, right?"

    "But Katniss, they're not hungry," says Rue.

    "No, they're not. That's the problem," I agree. And for the first time, I have a plan. (15.76-79)

    Katniss and Rue discover that being from a poor district gives them an advantage: they know how to be hungry and they know how to hunt and gather food. How will they use this to their advantage over the Career Tributes?

  • Sacrifice

    Chapter 1

    Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol's way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. "Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there's nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen." (1.76)

    The districts all pay a yearly sacrifice to the Capitol in the form of their tributes – children who will die in the Hunger Games. Katniss also mentions District 13. This region was completely destroyed in the uprising and was also a kind of sacrifice to the government.

    Chapter 2
    Katniss Everdeen

    "Prim!" The strangled cry comes out of my throat, and my muscles begin to move again. "Prim!" I don't need to shove through the crowd. The other kids make way immediately allowing me a straight path to the stage. I reach her just as she is about to mount the steps. With one sweep of my arm, I push her behind me.

    "I volunteer!" I gasp. "I volunteer as tribute!" (2.5-6)

    Always the protector of the family, Katniss offers herself instead of her sister as District 12's tribute. She is making a double sacrifice: one for her sister, the other for her community.

    Chapter 18

    I open the parachute and find a small loaf of bread. It's not the fine white Capitol stuff. It's made of dark ration grain and shaped in a crescent. Sprinkled with seeds. I flash back to Peeta's lesson on the various district breads in the Training Center. This bread came from District 11. I cautiously lift the still warm loaf. What must it have cost the people of District 11 who can't even feed themselves? How many would've had to do without to scrape up a coin to put in the collection for this one loaf? (18.48)

    District 11 acknowledges Katniss's gesture with a sacrifice of their own: a loaf of bread. What does the bread symbolize?

    I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do that there is a part of every tribute they can't own. That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I.

    A few steps into the woods grows a bank of wildflowers. Perhaps they are really weeds of some sort, but they have blossoms in beautiful shades of violet and yellow and white. I gather up an armful and come back to Rue's side. Slowly, one stem at a time. I decorate her body in the flowers. Covering the ugly wound. Wreathing her face. Weaving her hair with bright colors. (18.38-39)

    Is Rue just another casualty of the game for the entertainment of the audience at home? No. Katniss places flowers on her dead body, which reminds us that Rue's death is a great sacrifice. Katniss acknowledges her as a human being.

    Chapter 20

    One of the goats, a white one with black patches, was lying down in a cart. It was easy to see why. Something, probably a dog, had mauled her shoulder and infection had set in. It was bad, the Goat Man had to hold her up to milk her. But I thought I knew someone who could fix it. (20.49)

    Goats are often a symbol of sacrifice and indeed the Goat Man was going to send this one to the butcher. Instead, Katniss buys the goat and brings to her sister Prim. Sacrifice no more! Who likens themselves to the goat in this chapter? Why?

    Chapter 25
    Peeta Mellark

    I spread out my fingers, and the dark berries glisten in the sun. I give Peeta's hand one last squeeze as a signal, as a good-bye, and we begin counting. "One." Maybe I'm wrong. "Two." Maybe they don't care if we both die. "Three!" It's too late to change my mind. I lift my hand to m mouth, taking one last look at the world. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare. (25.93)

    At the end of the Games, Katniss and Peeta are ready to sacrifice themselves rather than give in to the Capitol's demands that they kill each other. Why is their act so powerful?

    "Because, of course, Haymitch hasn't bothered to tell me your strategies. 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." (6.4)

    Though it was an honest gesture full of emotion, Katniss' sacrifice becomes a way to market her to the audience. Sacrifice sells!

  • Power

    Chapter 1
    Katniss Everdeen

    Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.” (1.76)

    The Hunger Games, Katniss tells us, become a way for the rulers in the Capitol to flex their big old muscles. The main purpose is to remind the Districts how weak they are – and that their deaths are basically televised entertainment. In this sense, the Games are a form of control.

    Chapter 2

    The something unexpected happens. At least, I don’t expect it because I don’t think of District 12 as a place that cares about me. 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 good-bye to someone you love. (2.17)

    It’s clear that the government has brute force on their side, but the people of District 12 show that they have their own kind of power. Their three-finger gesture makes Katniss feel special and loved and human. Why is that so important?

    Chapter 6
    Katniss Everdeen

    “What’s an Avox?” I ask stupidly.

    “Someone who committed a crime. They cut her tongue so she can’t speak,” says Haymitch. “She’s probably a traitor of some sort. Not likely you’d know her.” (6.23-24)

    As we learn here, traitors to the government have their tongues cut out and become servants called Avoxes. Why do you think it’s significant that the government removes the tongue? What is it about being able to speak that’s so important?

    Chapter 7
    Peeta Mellark

    Peeta rolls his eyes at Haymitch. “She has no idea. The effect she can have.” He runs his fingernail along the wood grain in the table, refusing to look at me.

    What on earth does he mean? People help me? When we were dying of starvation, no one helped me! No one helped me except Peeta. Once I had something to barter with, things changed. I’m a tough trader. Or am I? What effect do I have? (7.36-37)

    There are lots of kinds of power that people can have, and here Peeta suggests that Katniss has a kind of power she that isn’t aware of. But what is it? What effect does she have on people? What effect does she have on Peeta?

    The Gamemakers appeared early on the first day. Twenty or so men and women dressed in deep purple robes. They sit in the elevated stands that surround the gymnasium, sometimes wandering about to watch us, jotting down notes, other times eating at the endless banquet that has been set for them, ignoring the lot of us. But they do seem to be keeping their eye on the District 12
    tributes. Several times I’ve looked up to find one fixated on me. (7.66)

    The Gamemakers are the people who are completely in control of the competition. Like Greek Gods, they are removed from the action, but are still on hand to move the game pieces around the board.

    Chapter 8
    Katniss Everdeen

    Eleven!

    Effie Trinket lets out a squeal, and everybody is slapping me on the back and cheering and congratulating me. But it doesn’t seem real.

    “There must be a mistake. How…how could that happen?” I ask Haymitch.

    “Guess they liked your temper,” he says. “They’ve got a show to put on. They need some players with some heat.”

    “Katniss, the girl who was on fire,” says Cinna and gives me a hug. (8.36-8.40)

    During training, Katniss shoots an arrow into the Gamemakers' roast pig, and then receives the highest rating of all the tributes. Why do you think the Gamemakers rate her so highly? Does Katniss’s rebellious spirit make her powerful?

    Chapter 10
    Peeta Mellark

    “I don’t know how to say it exactly. Only…I want to die as myself. Does that make any sense?” he asks. I shake my head. How could he die as anyone but himself? “I don’t want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I’m not.”

    I bite my lip, feeling inferior. While I’ve been ruminating on the availability of trees, Peeta has been struggling with how to maintain his identity. His purity of self. “Do you mean you won’t kill anyone?” I ask.

    “No, when the time comes, I’m sure I’ll kill just like everybody else. I can’t go down without a fight. Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games,” says Peeta. (10.71)

    Peeta wants to die as himself – not as one of the Capitol’s pawns. Can holding onto Peeta’s identity be a kind of power for him? Does he achieve this in the end?

    Chapter 13

    The attack is now over. The Gamemakers don’t want me dead. Not yet anyway. Everyone knows they could destroy us all within seconds of the opening gong. The real sport of the Hunger Games is watching the tributes kill one another. Every so often, they do kill a tribute just to remind the players they can. But mostly, they manipulate us into confronting one another face-to-face. Which means, if I am no longer being fired at, there is at least one other tribute close at hand. (13.16)

    Katniss reminds us again that the Gamemakers are the ones moving them around like chess pieces. Notice how the firestorm is their way to move the players around on the board. How does this reinforce the idea that the government is powerful?

    Chapter 18

    I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do that there is a part of every tribute they can’t own. That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I.

    A few steps into the woods grows a bank of wildflowers. Perhaps they are really weeds of some sort, but they have blossoms in beautiful shades of violet and yellow and white. I gather up an armful and come back to Rue’s side. Slowly, one stem at a time, I decorate her body in the flowers. Covering the ugly wound. Wreathing her face. Weaving her hair with bright colors. (18.38-39)

    After Rue’s death, Katniss decides to place flowers all over the dead girl’s body. The act of honoring Rue in this manner reminds Katniss – and anyone watching – that Rue was an actual person worthy of dignity and respect. Rue’s death means something more to Katniss than just televised entertainment. Why do you think the government censors this image in the final broadcast?

    Chapter 25

    My head snaps from side to side as I examine the pack, taking in the various sizes and colors. The small one with the red coat and amber eyes…Foxface! And there, the ashen hair and hazel eyes of the boy from District 9 who died as we struggled for the backpack! And worst of all, the smallest mutt, with dark glossy fur, huge brown eyes and a collar that reads 11 in woven straw. Teeth bared in hatred. Rue… (25.16)

    As the Games reach their climax, the Gamemakers release a pack of genetically mutated wolves to chase the remaining candidates. Katniss realizes that the wolves are mutations of the dead tributes. Another show of the Capitol’s power, the government has dehumanized the fallen boys and girls and turned them into animals.

    Peeta Mellark

    We both know they have to have a victor.

    Yes, they have to have a victor. Without a victor, the whole thing would blow up in the Gamemakers’ faces. They’d have failed the Capitol. Might possibly even be executed, slowly and painfully while the cameras broadcast it to every screen in the country.

    If Peeta and I were both to die, or they thought we were…

    My fingers fumble with the pouch on my belt, freeing it. Peeta sees it and his hand clamps on my wrist. “No, I won’t let you.”

    “Trust me,” I whisper. He holds my gaze for a long moment then lets me go. (25.85-89)

    In the end, Katniss figures out how finally to defeat the Gamemakers. Both she and Peeta decide to commit suicide – or at least act like they are committing suicide. What is so powerful about this action? Why does it work?

    Chapter 26
    Haymitch Abernathy

    “Listen up. You’re in trouble. Word is the Capitol’s furious about you showing them up in the arena. The one thing they can’t stand is being laughed at and they’re the joke of Panem,” says Haymitch.

    I feel dread coursing through me now, but I laugh as though Haymitch is saying something completely delightful because nothing is covering my mouth. “So what?”

    “Your only defense can be you were so madly in love you weren’t responsible for your actions.” (26.55-57)

    Though Katniss won the Hunger Games, the novel ends on an uncertain note. Will Katniss be punished for her rebellion? What will the Capitol do to regain its power?

  • Appearances

    Chapter 2
    Katniss Everdeen

    "Prim, let go," I say harshly, because this is upsetting me and I don't want to cry. When they televise the replay of the reapings tonight, everyone will make note of my tears, and I'll be marked as an easy target. A weakling. I will give no one that satisfaction. (2.11)

    With the cameras are trained on her every motion, Katniss must mask her feelings and project a façade of cool, calm, and collectedness.

    Chapter 3

    Peeta Mellark, on the other hand, has obviously been crying and interestingly enough does not seem to be trying to cover it up. I immediately wonder if this will be his strategy in the Games. To appear weak and frightened, to reassure the other tributes that he is no competition at all, and then come out fighting. (3.47)

    What is real and what is not real? Already Katniss is beginning to question the motives of those around her: in this instance, Peeta. Could his emotional response be simply a strategy?

    Chapter 4

    I put the green outfit back on since it's not really dirty, just slightly crumpled from spending the night on the floor. My fingers trace the circle around the little gold mockingjay and I think of the woods, and of my father, and of my mother and Prim waking up, having to get on with things. I slept in the elaborate braided hair my mother did for that reaping and it doesn't look too bad, so I just leave it up. It doesn't matter. We can't be far from the Capitol now. And once we reach the city, my stylist will dictate my look for the opening ceremonies tonight anyway. I just hope I get one who doesn't think nudity is the last word in fashion. (4.32)

    Katniss enters the Games with symbols of her district: her braided hair and the mockingjay pin. How will her looks be changed by the stylists in the Capitol?

    Chapter 5

    A few hours later, I am dressed in what will either be the most sensational or the deadliest costume in the opening ceremonies. I'm in a simple black unitard that covers me from ankle to neck. Shiny leather boots lace up to my knees. But it's the fluttering cape made of streams of orange, yellow, and red and the matching headpiece that define this costume. Cinna plans to light them on fire just before our chariot rolls into the streets. (5.38)

    Cinna puts together a fabulous costume for the opening ceremonies – it was a flaming headpiece! How does the crowd react? Why is it so important for Katniss to create such a sensation?

    Chapter 9
    Haymitch Abernathy

    "I'm trying to figure out what to do with you," he says. "How we're going to present you. Are you going to be charming? Aloof? Fierce? So far, you're shining like a star. You volunteered to save your sister. Cinna made you look unforgettable. You've got the top training score. People are intrigued, but no one knows who you are. The impression you make tomorrow will decide exactly what I can get you in terms of sponsors," says Haymitch. (9.14)

    Haymitch is someone who realizes the importance of a public persona. As he coaches Katniss for her interview, though, he can't decide how to market her to the public. What would you tell Katniss?

    Chapter 10
    Haymitch Abernathy

    "He made you look desirable! And let's face it, you can use all the help you can get in that department. You were about as romantic as dirt until he said he wanted you. Now they all do. You're all they're talking about. The star-crossed lovers from District Twelve!" says Haymitch. (10.22)

    Peeta confessed his crush on Katniss during his interview. Why is it so beneficial for Katniss to appear to be desired?

    Chapter 19

    The star-crossed lovers…Peeta must have been playing that angle all along. Why else would the Gamemakers have made this unprecedented change in the rules? For two tributes to have a shot at winning, our "romance" must be so popular with the audience that condemning it would jeopardize the success of the Games. No thanks to me. All I've done is managed not to kill Peeta. But whatever he's done in the arena, he must have the audience convinced it was to keep me alive. (19.3)

    Peeta and Katniss take on the parts of tragic lovers in order to gain favor with the audience. At least, that's what Katniss thinks. We know that Peeta really does love Katniss. But why does he make his crush public? Is he looking out for himself or for Katniss?

    Chapter 25

    I startle when I catch someone staring at me from only a few inches away and then realize it's my own face reflecting back in the glass. Wild eyes, hollow cheeks, my hair in a tangled mat. Rabid. Feral. Mad. No wonder everyone is keeping a safe distance from me. (25.11)

    As the Games conclude, Katniss looks like a wild animal. But has she managed to hang on to her humanity?

    Chapter 26

    When I manage to pull my eyes away from the flickering fabric, I'm in for something of a shock. My hair's loose, held back by a simple hairband. The makeup rounds and fills out the sharp angels of my face. A clear polish coats my nails. The sleeveless dress is gathered at my ribs, not my waist, largely eliminating any help the padding would have given m figure. The hem falls just to my knees. Without heels, you can see my true stature. I look, very simply, like a girl. A young one. Fourteen at the most. Innocent. Harmless. Yes, it is shocking that Cinna has pulled this off when you remember I've just won the Games. (26.44)

    Cinna has purposely dressed Katniss as a simple young girl for her final televised interview. Why might he need to make her look innocent in front of the cameras?

    Chapter 27

    With the Capitol growing father way every second, I begin to think of home. Of Prim and my mother. Of Gale. I excuse myself to change out of my dress and into a plain shirt and pants. As I slowly, thoroughly wash the makeup from my face and put my hair in its braid, I begin transforming back into myself. Katniss Everdeen. A girl who lives in the Seam. Hunts in the woods. Trades in the Hob. I stare in the mirror as I try to remember who I am and who I am not. By the time I join the others, the pressure of Peeta's arm around my shoulders feels alien. (27.58)

    Katniss is dressed as her old self again, and so she starts to feel like herself again. Can clothes really change the way we see ourselves?

  • Identity

    Chapter 2

    Then something unexpected happens. At least, I don’t expect it because I don’t think of District 12 as a place that cares about me. 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. I means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love. (2.17)

    By making a huge personal sacrifice, and taking her sister’s place, Katniss has changed the way her community sees her. They give her respect, admiration, and love for the choice she has made.

    Chapter 4
    Katniss Everdeen

    I knelt down in the water, my fingers digging into the roots. Small, bluish tubers that don’t look like much but boiled or baked are as good as any potato. “Katniss,” I said aloud. It’s the plant I was named for. And I heard my father’s voice joking, “As long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.” (4.22)

    Katniss’s name comes from the plant growing beneath the pond. How do Katniss’s father’s words have a double meaning? Why is finding herself so important for Katniss’s survival?

    It was slow-going at first, but I was determined to feed us. I stole eggs from nests, caught fish in nets, sometimes managed to shoot a squirrel or rabbit for stew, and gathered the various plants that sprung up beneath my feet. Plants are tricky. Many are edible, but one false mouthful and you’re dead. I checked and double-checked the plants I harvested with my father’s pictures. I kept us alive. (4.19)

    Before the Hunger Games, Katniss fills her father’s shoes by acting as the sole provider and bread winner for her family. Every moment of every day revolves around the survival of her family. That’s all she knows, and the only way she sees herself.

    Chapter 5
    Cinna

    "I want the audience to recognize you when you're in the arena," says Cinna dreamily. "Katniss, the girl who was on fire." (5.40)

    Cinna, Katniss's stylist, makes a spectacular fiery outfit for her debut in the opening ceremonies. How is the public image that Cinna is crafting for Katniss different from who she really is?

    What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? (5.27)

    Katniss’s whole identity so far is based on survival. Once she gets to the Capitol, she begins to wonder what her life would be like if she didn’t have to hunt and gather food for her family.

    Chapter 9
    Haymitch Abernathy

    "Remember, they already love you," he says gently. "Just be yourself." (9.68)

    Katniss undergoes several prep sessions for her pre-games interview. Haymitch can't decide how to present Katniss to the public, but Cinna tells her just to be herself. Does his advice work? Does being herself help Katniss win the Games?

    Chapter 10
    Peeta Mellark

    "I don't know how to say it exactly. Only…I want to die as myself. Does that make any sense?" he asks. I shake my head. How could he die as anyone but himself? "I don't want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I'm not."

    I bite my lip, feeling inferior. While I've been ruminating on the availability of trees, Peeta has been struggling with how to maintain his identity. His purity of self. "Do you mean you won't kill anyone?" I ask.

    "No, when the time comes, I'm sure I'll kill just like everybody else. I can't go down without a fight. Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don't own me. That I'm more than just a piece in their Games," says Peeta. (10.71)

    The night before the Games Katniss is thinking strategy, but Peeta? Well, he's thinking more about his identity. Peeta wants to retain his humanity instead of being just a "piece in the Games." How can he show the Capitol that they don't own him?

    Chapter 18

    I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do that there is a part of every tribute they can't own. That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I.

    A few steps into the woods grows a bank of wildflowers. Perhaps they are really weeds of some sort, but they have blossoms in beautiful shades of violet and yellow and white. I gather up an armful and come back to Rue's side. Slowly, one stem at a time. I decorate her body in the flowers. Covering the ugly wound. Wreathing her face. Weaving her hair with bright colors. (18.38-39)

    Katniss honors Rue by covering her body with flowers. This action is meant to remind people that Rue was a human being. She was an actual person with an identity all her own, not just a character on television.

    Chapter 23

    For the first time, I allow myself to truly think about the possibility that I might make it home. To fame. To wealth. To m own house in the Victor's Village. My mother and Prim would live there with me. No more fear of hunger. A new kind of freedom. But then…what? What would my life be like on a daily basis? Most of it has been consumed with the acquisition of food. Take that away and I'm not really sure who I am, what my identity is. The idea scares me some. (23.62)

    Katniss might just win these games. But then what? If she's not Katniss the Hunter, who will she be?

    Chapter 27

    With the Capitol growing father away every second, I begin to think of home. Of Prim and my mother. Of Gale. I excuse myself to change out of my dress and into a plain shirt and pants. As I slowly, thoroughly wash the makeup from my face and put my hair in its braid, I begin transforming back into myself. Katniss Everdeen. A girl who lives in the Seam. Hunts in the woods. Trades in the Hob. I stare in the mirror as I try to remember who I am and who I am not. By the time I join the others, the pressure of Peeta's arm around my shoulders feels alien. (27.58)

    As the victorious Katniss returns to District 12, she seems to be changing back into her old self. But how have the Hunger Games changed who Katniss is?

  • Competition

    Chapter 2

    I feel like I owe him something, and I hate owing people. Maybe if I had thanked him at some point, I'd be feeling less conflicted now. I thought about it a couple of times, but the opportunity never seemed to present itself. And now it never will. Because we're going to be thrown into an arena to fight to the death. Exactly how am I supposed to work in a thank-you in there? Somehow it just won't seem sincere if I'm trying to slit his throat. (2.48)

    The competition of the Hunger Games stamps out any potential feelings – gratitude, love, whatever – between Katniss and Peeta. They're going to be trying to kill each other, after all.

    Chapter 3

    I can't win. Prim must know that in her heart. The competition will be far beyond my abilities. Kids from wealthier districts, where winning is a huge honor, who've been trained their whole lives for this. Boys who are two to three times my size. Girls who know twenty different ways to kill you with a knife. Oh, there'll be people like me, too. People to weed out before the real fun begins. (3.13)

    Much like the reaping, the Hunger Games favor the rich: those who can afford the time and training it takes to compete.

    Chapter 7

    The exceptions are the kids from the wealthier districts, the volunteers, the ones who have been fed and trained throughout their lives for this moment. The tributes from 1, 2, and 4 traditionally have this look about them. It's technically against the rules to train tributes before they reach the Capitol but it happens every year. In District 12, we call them the Career Tributes, or just the Careers. And like as not, the winner will be one of them (7.51)

    As Katniss explains here, the Career Tributes have the leg up in the competition.

    The Gamemakers appeared early on the first day. Twenty or so men and women dressed in deep purple robes. They sit in the elevated stands that surround the gymnasium, sometimes wandering about to watch us, jotting down notes, other times eating at the endless banquet that has been set for them, ignoring the lot of us. But they do seem to be keeping their eye on the District 12 tributes. Several times I've looked up to find one fixated on me. (7.66)

    The Gamemakers are the ones in control of the competition. They seem though to be pretty disinterested in the whole thing. Why do you think they are so passionless about the whole thing? Why is Katniss of particular interest to them?

    Chapter 8

    Since the training isn't open to viewers, the Gamemakers announce a score for each player. It gives the audience a starting place for the betting that will continue throughout the Games. The number, which is between one and twelve, one being irredeemably bad and twelve being unattainably high, signifies the promise of the tribute. The mark is not a guarantee of which person will win. It's only an indication of the potential tribute show in training. (8.4)

    As we learn in this passage, people place bets on the survival of the tributes. The gambling reinforces the idea that the death of the tributes is entertainment.

    Chapter 10

    The roar of the crowd is deafening. Peeta has absolutely wiped the rest of us off the map with his declaration of love for me. (10.8)

    In the Hunger Games, it's not just strength or skill that will win the competition. How does Peeta's presentation of himself as a tragic lover give him an edge?

    Chapter 13

    This was no tribute's campfire gone out of control, no accidental occurrence. The flames that bear down on me have an unnatural height, a uniformity that marks them as human-made, machine-made, Gamemaker-made. Things have been too quiet today. No deaths, perhaps no fights at all. The audience in the Capitol will be getting bored, claiming that these Games are verging on dullness. This is the one thing the Games must not do. (13.4)

    The Games are a reminder to the districts not to rebel against the government, but they are also – especially for the richer districts – a form of entertainment. Notice how the Gamemakers have to keep the plot exciting in order to keep their viewers happy.

    Chapter 15
    Katniss Everdeen

    "You know, they're not the only ones who can form alliances," I say.

    For a moment, no response. The one of Rue's eyes edges around the trunk. "You want me for an ally?" (15.12-13)

    Forming an alliance with Rue proves to be a good strategy in the competition for Katniss. Why?

    Chapter 24

    Brutal, bloody Cato who can snap a neck with a twist of his arm, who had the power to overcome Thresh, who has had it out for me since the beginning. He probably has had a special hatred for me every since I outscored him in training. A boy like Peeta would simply shrug that off. But I have a feeling it drove Cato to distraction. Which is not that hard. I think of his ridiculous reaction to finding the supplies blown up. The others were upset, of course, but he was completely unhinged. I wonder now if Cato might not be entirely sane. (24.27)

    Cato is Katniss's last hurdle to winning the competition. Why is Cato such a force to be reckoned with?

    Chapter 25
    Peeta Mellark

    I spread out my fingers, and the dark berries glisten in the sun. I give Peeta's hand one last squeeze as a signal, as a good-bye, and we begin counting. "One." Maybe I'm wrong. "Two." Maybe they don't care if we both die. "Three!" It's too late to change my mind. I lift my hand to m mouth, taking one last look at the world. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare. (25.93)

    After downing a handful of berries, Katniss and Peeta are declared victorious. How did they defeat the Gamemakers?

    Chapter 26

    And right now, the most dangerous part of the Hunger Games is about to begin. (26.69)

    Wait. What? The Games are beginning again? We thought Katniss won? What does Katniss mean?

  • Versions of Reality

    Chapter 3
    Gale Hawthorne

    “There’s almost always some wood,” Gale says. “Since that year half of them died of cold. Not much entertainment in that.”

    It’s true. We spent one Hunger Games watching the players freeze to death at night. You could hardly see them because they were just huddled in balls and had no wood for fires or torches or anything. It was considered very anti-climactic in the Capitol, all those quiet bloodless deaths. Since then, there’s usually been wood to make fires. (3.34-35)

    The Hunger Games, in which tributes fight each other to the death in front of the cameras, are an extreme example of reality television. Notice how the emphasis is on the audience’s entertainment rather than the pain and suffering of the candidates.

    Chapter 6

    I’d set out to tell her I was sorry about dinner. But I know that my apology runs much deeper. That I’m ashamed I never tried to help her in the woods. That I let the Capitol kill the boy and mutilate her without lifting a finger.

    Just like I was watching the Games. (6.83-84)

    Katniss feels the need to apologize to the Avox girl who she didn’t help in the woods. Notice how Katniss compares watching the girl being taken away to watching the Hunger Games. Under the harsh rule of the government, Katniss’s life has become a daily version of the Games.

    Chapter 7
    Peeta Mellark

    When we finally escape to bed on the second night, Peeta mumbles, “Someone ought to get Haymitch a drink.”

    I make a sound that is somewhere between a snort and a laugh. Then catch myself. It’s messing with my mind too much, trying to keep straight when we’re supposedly friends and when we’re not. At least when we get into the arena, I’ll know where we stand. “Don’t. Don’t let’s pretend when there’s no one around.” (7.85-86)

    What’s real and what isn’t? In the Hunger Games, Katniss can’t be sure. Is Peeta sincere about being her friend? Or does he have other plans?

    Chapter 8

    I can’t help comparing what I have with Gale to what I’m pretending to have with Peeta. How I never question Gale’s motives while I do nothing but doubt the latter’s. It’s not a fair comparison really. Gale and I were thrown together by a mutual need to survive. Peeta and I know the other’s survival means our own death. How do you sidestep that? (8.60)

    Katniss compares her authentic feelings for Gale with the fake friendship she has with Peeta. What is the difference between the two? Could Katniss ever really have feelings for Peeta?

    Chapter 10
    Haymitch Abernathy

    Haymitch grabs my shoulders and pins me against the wall. “Who cares? It’s all a big show. It’s all how you’re perceived. The most I could say about you after your interview was that you were nice enough, although that in itself was a small miracle. Now I can say you’re a heartbreaker. Oh, oh, oh, how the boys back home fall longingly at your feet. Which do you think will get more sponsors?” (10.39)

    Peeta announces to the world that he has a giant crush on Katniss. At first, she’s peeved, but as Haymitch suggests, it’s not so much about what is true, but about what will sell. Notice how Peeta’s crush on her makes her more desirable to others in the audience.

    Chapter 12

    As I hike along, I feel certain I’m still holding the screen in the Capitol, so I’m careful to continue to hide my emotions. But what a good time Claudius Templesmith must be having with his guest commentators, dissecting Peeta’s behavior, my reaction. What to make of it all? Has Peeta revealed his true colors? How does this affect the betting? Will we lose sponsors? Do we even have sponsors? Yes, I feel certain we do, or at least did. (12.29)

    In the arena, Katniss has cameras on her at all times. She has to think of everything she does as being interpreted through the eyes of the audience watching at home.

    Chapter 14
    Katniss Everdeen

    “Do this!” I command myself. Clenching my jaw, I dig my hands under Glimmer’s body, get a hold on what must be her rib cage, and force her onto her stomach. I can’t help it, I’m hyperventilating now, the whole thing is so nightmarish and I’m losing my grip on what’s real. (14.26)

    The tracker jacker attack leaves Katniss full of venom, and she starts hallucinating. Katniss has literally lost sense of reality here from the venom. How else has she lost track of what is real?

    Chapter 19

    The star-crossed lovers…Peeta must have been playing that angle all along. Why else would the Gamemakers have made this unprecedented change in the rules? For two tributes to have a shot at winning, our “romance” must be so popular with the audience that condemning it would jeopardize the success of the Games. No thanks to me. All I’ve done is managed not to kill Peeta. But whatever he’s done in the arena, he must have the audience convinced it was to keep me alive. (19.3)

    Romance stories are powerful things – especially on television. Even though Katniss isn’t really in love with Peeta, she realizes the power the story must have. Still, can Peeta and Katniss control the Games just by playing up their so-called romance?

    Chapter 22

    For a moment, I’m almost foolishly happy and then confusion sweeps over me. Because we’re supposed to be making up this stuff, playing at being in love, not actually being in love. But Peeta’s story has a ring of truth to it. That part about my father and the birds. And I did sing the first day of school, although I don’t remember the son. And that red plaid dress…there was one, a hand-me-down to Prim that got washed to rags after my father’s death.

    It would explain another thing too. Why Peeta took a beating to give me the bread on that awful hollow day. So, if those details are true…could it all be true? (22.95-96)

    OK, so it looks like Peeta really does have feelings for Katniss. He wasn’t just pretending. But what about her? Does Katniss have any feelings for Peeta? With all the acting she’s been doing, how could she even tell?

    Chapter 25
    Katniss Everdeen

    “Why don’t they just kill him?” I ask Peeta.

    “You know why,” he says, and pulls me closer to him.

    And I do. No viewer could turn away from the show now. From the Gamemakers’ point of view, this is the final word in entertainment. (25.42-44)

    Peeta and Katniss listen to the agony of the dying Cato. They long for his suffering to end, but for the Gamemakers and the audience at the Capitol, death is just something for sport.

    Caesar Flickerman makes a few more jokes, and it’s time for the show. This will last exactly three hours and is required viewing for all of Panem. As the lights dim and the seal appears on the screen, I realize I’m unprepared for this. I do not want to watch my twenty-two fellow tributes die. I saw enough of them die the first time. (27.4)

    During the post-Games reunion show, Katniss is forced to watch an edited version of the Hunger Games with the audience at home. How is this experience different from living the Games? How does it make her feel?

  • Strength and Skill

    Chapter 3

    I can't win. Prim must know that in her heart. The competition will be far beyond my abilities. Kids from wealthier districts, where winning is a huge honor, who've been trained their whole lives for this. Boys who are two to three times my size. Girls who know twenty different ways to kill you with a knife. Oh, there'll be people like me, too. People to weed out before the real fun begins. (3.13)

    Much as in the reaping, the Hunger Games favor the richer district: those who can afford the time and training it takes to compete. What strengths does Katniss have, though, that the wealthier kids don't?

    Chapter 4

    The bow and arrow is my weapon. But I've spent a fair amount of time throwing knives as well. Sometimes, if I've wounded an animal with an arrow, it's better to get a knife into it, too, before I approach it. I realize that if I want Haymitch's attention, this is my moment to make an impression. I yank the knife out of the table, get a grip on the blade, and then throw it into the wall across the room. (4.48)

    As an experienced hunter, Katniss is skilled with a bow and arrow, as well as a knife. How will these skills help her in the Games? What other strengths does she have? What are her weaknesses?

    Chapter 7

    Suddenly I am furious, that with my life on the line, they don't even have the decency to pay attention to me. That I'm being upstaged by a dead pig. My heart starts to pound, I can feel my face burning. Without thinking, I pull an arrow from my quiver and send it straight at the Gamemakers' table. I hear shouts of alarm as people stumble back. The arrow skewers the apple in the pig's mouth and pins it to the wall behind it. Everyone stares at me in disbelief. (7.96)

    Katniss loses her temper during her private training session with the Gamemakers. She shoots an arrow straight the apple in the pig's mouth. What is Katniss's real strength? Is it her bow and arrow or her spirit of defiance?

    "And you're good?" asks Haymitch.

    I have to think about it. I've been putting food on the table for four years. That's no small task. I'm not as good as my father was, but he'd had more practice. I've better aim than Gale, but I've had more practice. He's a genius with traps and snares. "I'm all right," I say.

    "She's excellent," says Peeta. "My father buys her squirrel. He always comments on how the arrows never pierce the body. She hits every one in the eye." (7.19-21)

    Katniss can kill her own food – and she's a remarkable shot.

    Chapter 8
    Katniss Everdeen

    Eleven!

    Effie Trinket lets out a squeal, and everybody is slapping me on the back and cheering and congratulating me. But it doesn't seem real.

    "There must be a mistake. How…how could that happen?" I ask Haymitch.

    "Guess they liked your temper," he says. "They've got a show to put on. They need some players with some heat."

    "Katniss, the girl who was on fire," says Cinna and gives me a hug. (8.36-40)

    Katniss receives the highest rating of all of the tributes. Why did she rank so high?

    Chapter 15

    The weapons give me an entirely new perspective on the Games. I know I have tough opponents left to face. But I am no longer merely prey that runs and hides or takes desperate measures. If Cato broke through the trees right now, I wouldn't flee, I'd shoot. I find I'm actually anticipating the moment with pleasure. (15.6)

    With her weapons on her back, Katniss is nearly unstoppable. She's playing offense now instead of defense. But can she win with this skill alone?

    Rue

    "The Careers have two pairs. But they've got everything down by the lake," Rue says. "And they're so strong."

    "We're strong, too," I say. "Just in a different way."

    "You are. You can shoot," she says. "What can I do?"

    "You can feed yourself. Can they?" I ask.

    "They don't need to. They have all those supplies," Rue says.

    "Say they didn't. Say the supplies were gone. How long would they last?" I say. "I mean, it's the Hunger Games, right?" (15.72-77)

    Katniss and Rue may not have more brute force than the Career Tributes, but they have a far more powerful skill: they can provide food for themselves. Where did they learn this skill? And why?

    Chapter 18

    I really think I stand a chance of doing it now. Winning. It's not just having the arrows or outsmarting the Careers a few times, although those things help. Something happened when I was holding Rue's hand, watching the life drain out of her. Now I am determined to avenge her, to make her loss unforgettable, and I can only do that by winning and thereby making myself unforgettable. (18.62)

    Katniss learns that her real strength is not in her bow or arrows or her smarts, but in standing up to the Capitol. How can she make herself unforgettable?

    Chapter 21

    I won't close my eyes. The comment about Rue has filled me with fury, enough fury I think to die with some dignity. As my last act of defiance, I will stare her down as long as I can see, which will probably not be an extended period of time, but I will stare her down, I will not cry out, I will die, in my own small way, undefeated. (21.30)

    Katniss has realized that her true strength lies in being true to herself and dying with dignity. In her encounter with Glimmer, we can see her defiance bubbling to the surface.

    Chapter 24

    That brings me back to Cato. But while I think I had a sense of Foxface, who she was and how she operated, he's a little more slippery. Powerful, well trained, but smart? I don't know. Not like she was. And utterly lacking in the control Foxface demonstrated. I believe Cato could easily lose his judgment in a fit of temper. (24.29)

    If Foxface was the smartest, then Cato is the strongest. But why doesn't either of them win? What does it take to win in this game?

    Chapter 25

    We both know they have to have a victor.

    Yes, they have to have a victor. Without a victor, the whole thing would blow up in the Gamemakers' faces. They'd have failed the Capitol. Might possibly even be executed, slowly and painfully while the cameras broadcast it to every screen in the country.

    If Peeta and I were both to die, or they thought we were…

    My fingers fumble with the pouch on my belt, freeing it. Peeta sees it and his hand clamps on my wrist. "No, I won't let you."

    "Trust me," I whisper. He holds my gaze for a long moment then lets me go. (25.85-89)

    At the end of the game, Katniss realizes that she can't kill Peeta. The only thing left for the two of them to do, then, is to defy the government one last time by killing themselves. Why does the plan work?