Summary and Analysis
The servants in the Capitol are special prisoners who have been tortured and had their tongues cut out so they can't speak anymore. They are called Avoxes. Darius hasn't been seen in District 12 since he tried to stop Thread from whipping Gale. When Katniss realizes Darius is their new Avox, she knows President Snow placed him there to unnerve her.
That night, Katniss is bothered by nightmares about tongues, President Snow, and the Games. After barely sleeping through the night, she leaves her room and joins the others. Katniss sees that Haymitch is reluctantly wearing a gold band with tiny flames on his wrist, and notes that Effie must have gotten him to agree to her idea of the whole team wearing matching jewelry.
Haymitch tells them during training that they need to make friends because they need allies in the arena. Katniss argues with him, telling him she doesn't trust or like any of the other tributes. Haymitch points out that the other tributes have known each other for years and have strong bonds with everyone. According to Haymitch, having allies is the only chance they have to survive.
She ponders Haymitch's instructions as she and Peeta head down to the training center. She spends most of the morning by herself, making knots and building fires. But soon realizes she'll need to tell Haymitch she tried to make friends, so she walks over to the tributes from District 3, Beetee and Wiress.
Katniss enjoys being around them and tries to subtly question them about whether there is an uprising in District 3, which she suspects. They confirm that there has been an uprising and are disappointed when she tells them nothing has happened in District 12. They move to another station as they talk, and the two of them point out the force field that surrounds the Gamemakers' table.
Finnick introduces Katniss to the other tribute from his district, an elderly and frail woman named Mags. Katniss has a hard time understanding her when she talks but decides she wants Mags to ally with her, Wiress, Beetee, and Peeta. She spends time at the archery range, and after everyone sees her shoot, their mentors request her as an ally.
The final day of training consists of the private sessions with the Gamemakers. During her session, Katniss makes a noose for a dummy and paints on it the name of "Seneca Crane," the previous Head Gamemaker.
Making Darius an Avox and placing him in Katniss' apartment is another tool the Capitol is using to further trap her into a life of fear, suffering, and pain. Though she knows she will probably die in the arena, this demonstrates just how far the Capitol is willing to go to make the last days of her life as painful and horrid as possible. The Capitol has already given their prisoner a death sentence, but now they want to torment her during her final days.
The motif of nightmares continues. Her dream in this chapter is significant because it features flicking tongues. Tongues are used to speak, make threats, lie, and move crowds. The people of Panem have been spurred to the brink of rebellion because of the propaganda put forth by the Capitol. Katniss is determined to save Peeta because she is ready to accept the fact that Snow's threats will be carried out. Nightmares continue to deteriorate Katniss' physical and mental health, which will make her an easy target in the arena.
When Beetee and Wiress reveal the force field to Katniss, they show that they trust Katniss enough to reveal something to her that could give her a competitive advantage in the arena. It is also noteworthy because it further illustrates the part in which force fields, mockingjays, poisonous berries, andother muttations play in shaping Panem's attitudes toward the Capitol.
In her training session, Katniss hangs a dummy of Seneca Crane. Though the Gamemakers probably know he was killed after last year's Games, it isn't supposed to be common knowledge. Her training session is frightening to the Gamemakers because it shows that she is not afraid to be bold. The berries and the dummy demonstrate that, while Katniss stands to lose everything, she is not scared to stand up to the Capitol.