Summary and Analysis
President Snow's answer means everyone and everything Katniss knows will be destroyed; she knows she has failed. But instead of feeling miserable and hopeless, she feels relief. She is glad she doesn't have to pretend anymore or wonder if she can save everyone. She determines her only solution now is to run away into the wild with her loved ones. Though she isn't sure where they will go or how they will survive, she knows she must do it.
While at the extravagant party at Snow's mansion, Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Head Gamemaker, asks to share a dance with Katniss. He pulls out his pocket watch to check the time, claiming he has a meeting and it starts at midnight, and Katniss sees a gold mockingjay etched onto the screen. Though it flickers in and out quickly, Katniss recognizes that it looks exactly like her mockingjay pin. She is confused by this but dismisses it as another fad in the Capitol.
The party dies down, and Peeta, Katniss, and the rest of the team return to the train where Katniss sleeps through the night for the first time in weeks. When they arrive home in District 12, they are taken to the mayor's house to prepare for the Harvest Festival.
Katniss finishes dressing and seeks out the mayor's daughter, Madge, to visit her before the ceremony starts. The two girls have become close since Katniss won the Games, though she acknowledges they have always been friends.
While looking for Madge, Katniss finds herself in the mayor's study, where the television broadcasts an announcement regarding District 8. Additional forces are being sent in to fight the growing chaos that is District 8. The people throw bricks and burn buildings. Peacekeepers gun down anyone and everyone in the crowd, and Katniss realizes this is the exact thing Snow would consider an uprising.
Katniss feels relieved at Snow's answer, but knows it means she must run away. She can no longer physically remain under the Capitol's brutal control, or she will forever be imprisoned by the haunting deaths of her loved ones.
The fact that Katniss does not have nightmares is significant. She says she feels a sense of relief and calmness after she discovers Snow's verdict. In an ironic way, his answer has cleared Katniss' mind. She doesn't have to worry about protecting anyone or how every move she makes could potentially kill someone. Instead, she is able to channel her thoughts into running away, dreaming of a life where she's free of the Capitol and Snow. The possibility of freedom and a future away from the Capitol is enough for Katniss to escape the horrors of her nightmares. At peace with where her life is hopefully headed, she is able to sleep through the night.
The scene with Plutarch, his position as Head Gamemaker, his mockingjay etching, and his watch are especially noteworthy in this chapter. The mockingjay symbol, flashed by Plutarch in a brief moment of subtlety, seems to be just another Capitol fad. However, as the mockingjay serves as a symbol of rebellion, change, and Katniss herself, its significance is not to be overlooked.