Summary and Analysis
This chapter, in many ways, continues to examine the use of masks and deception throughout the Hunger Games. Not only have Katniss' stylists and prep team worked hard to change her physical appearance, but now Effie and Haymitch must also get her to behave a particular way in order to win over the audience. She's had to pretend that she and Peeta are friends and now she has to pretend that she is friends with the audience so that they will find her likeable and want to sponsor her.
Katniss continues to struggle with trusting Peeta, especially since this chapter follows the moment in which he asks to be coached alone. Because Katniss feels betrayed by his request, she realizes that she must have trusted him at some point, but decides that it will be easier now if they stop pretending being friends since they will eventually have to try to kill one another. She tries to convince herself that they never really had any true connection, that whatever show they'd been putting on together was silly, but her voice isn't too convincing.
When she does take the stage, she follows Cinna's advice. She tries to pretend she's only talking to him, the one person Katniss has considered a friend since coming to the Capitol. This chapter illustrates Katniss' growing bond with Cinna, but it also shows that Katniss can put on a show when she tries to. She twirls and giggles for the audience, suggesting that she has learned to put on yet another mask for the Capitol. Before, she'd only had to keep quiet about how much she dislikes the Capitol; now she has to smile in front of them, charm them, and laugh along with them.
She is caught off guard when, before the interviews, Haymitch says that she and Peeta must continue to be a pair. Katniss thought that their twin act would end when their coaching became separate, but she's mistaken. When Peeta reveals his love for Katniss on stage, it's clear that there's more to their friendship façade than Katniss had originally thought. Again, she must struggle with trusting Peeta. Is he truly in love with her, or is he simply trying to weaken her by luring her in, making her easy prey during the Games?