The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins Summary and Analysis Part 1: Chapter 7

Summary

It is their first day of training, and Katniss and Peeta meet with the rest of their team in the dining room. Katniss is annoyed to see that she and Peeta are dressed exactly alike. Soon enough, she thinks, they'll have to drop their twin act, especially when they're expected to kill one another. Haymitch talks to them about strategy, asking if they'd like to be coached separately or together, and Katniss suggests they receive their coaching together. Peeta agrees. When Haymitch asks what their special skills are, Peeta claims to have none; Katniss says she can hunt, but doesn't know whether she's a good hunter. Then, Peeta begins to talk about how Katniss has incredible hunting abilities and how adept she is with a bow and arrow. Katniss is suspicious and asks Peeta what he's doing by talking her up. She tells Haymitch that Peeta is strong, that he can lift heavy bags of flour and can wrestle, that his hand-to-hand combat will be outstanding. Peeta doesn't believe these skills afford him any sort of advantage. He's given up on himself already and tells Katniss that even his mother doesn't think he can win, but that she has faith in Katniss, calling her a survivor. Katniss recalls the day behind the bakery when she was eleven, and reminds Peeta of how he helped her that day, saying that she can't survive on her own. Peeta mentions the sponsors, how they'll be fighting to help her, and when she doubts this he tells her that she has no idea what kind of an effect she has on people. Katniss can't decipher what he means and chooses to take this comment as an insult.

Haymitch interrupts and instructs them to steer clear of any training stations that would reveal their strongest skills. They will have three days to train, and then on the final day they will be allowed to showcase their best skill to the Gamemakers in a private session. Haymitch tells them, too, that they are to remain together at all times and should appear inseparable. Katniss is growing tired of pretending to be friends with Peeta, but she does as she's told.

In the Training Center, Katniss sizes up the other tributes and is intimidated by how large and strong most of them are. The "Career Tributes," or "Careers," who have been training since they were born and are Primarily from Districts 1, 2, and 4, are the most daunting. Already they are handy with the most gruesome-looking weapons. Katniss and Peeta try knot-tying first, then camouflage, which Peeta excels at because of his experience with cake decorating.

As Peeta and Katniss go about their training, Peeta notices the small girl from District 11 following them. He says her name is Rue, which is a small yellow flower, and reminds Katniss of the Primrose for which Prim is named.

At the end of the third day, the tributes privately showcase their special talents to the Gamemakers. The Districts go in numerical order, so District 12 is last, and Katniss is the last tribute. When she enters the gymnasium, she can see that the Gamemakers are tired of watching, that they've had too much wine and don't really care to see what she can do. She grabs her bow and arrow, takes aim, and misses. She struggles at first, trying to get a feel for the weapon, and then finds her rhythm and puts on a display of fantastic shooting. When she looks up, though, she sees that only a few of the Gamemakers are paying attention, which angers her, especially since her life is on the line. The rest of the Gamemakers are eyeing the roast pig that has arrived at their banquet table, so Katniss aims at the apple in the roast pig's mouth and strikes true, pinning the pig to the wall. Katniss thanks them, bows, and exits.

Analysis

We continue to see how deception and masking the truth are major components of the Hunger Games. First, Katniss and Peeta are both told by Haymitch not to reveal their best skills in front of the rest of the competition. They should keep this a secret meant only for the Gamemakers in order to win sponsors.

Secondly, there is the camouflage station, which Peeta excels at. Katniss has already commented on how good Peeta is at lying, at expressing a particular emotion outwardly while maintaining an internal motivation that isn't sincere. For example, when Peeta and Katniss first rode into the Capitol on the train, Peeta waved and smiled at the onlookers, telling Katniss that one of them might be rich and be willing to sponsor him.

Finally, the major masking that occurs in this chapter is the twin act that Haymitch, Effie, Cinna, and Portia encourage. Not only must they dress alike, but they must also appear to be good friends, never leaving one another's side. This act becomes increasingly tiresome for Katniss, but then there are moments when she can't decide whether Peeta truly is complimenting her, or if he's simply trying to demean or trick her. For instance, when he brings up all of Katniss' skills, she's suspicious of him, but then wonders why he should know so much about her. She is surprised, too, by her knowledge of his skills. Their discussion with Haymitch about one another reveals just how much notice they'd taken of one another before coming to the Capitol. She worries, though, that the twin act will cause them greater trouble later, that pretending to be friends will make the actual Games harder. Haymitch and the others, however, continue to strongly encourage such behavior, leading the reader to believe that they know something we don't.

When Peeta comments on how Katniss is a survivor, she reminds him of how she often needs help in order to survive and knows that he remembers the bread he gave her when they were children. This foreshadows the help that she will need later on, hopefully help that will come from Peeta during the Games.

Rue's similarities to Prim continue to remind Katniss of home and make her worry, not only for her sister, but also for this young girl who doesn't stand a chance against the larger and much more vicious Career Tributes. A link between Katniss and Rue is established in this chapter, one that will grow later.

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