The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins Summary and Analysis Part 3: Chapter 23

Summary

Katniss and Peeta try to pace themselves on the rich food so that they don't get sick. They talk about what life might be like if they win, if they get to live in the Victor's Village with Haymitch, which gets Katniss wondering about Haymitch and how he won the Games. They decide that he must have used wit, and Katniss considers what it must be like for Haymitch to train tributes by himself year after year just to watch them die in the Games. She imagines how she'll have to help train tributes if she wins, and the thought disgusts her.

In the sky that night, there is the picture of Thresh. Katniss is sad that he's dead and struggles to hide her pain. She sleeps with her hood over her face to hide it from the cameras so that she can say goodbye to Thresh and thank him. She promises to remember him and help his and Rue's family if she wins.

When Peeta wakes her for the next watch, she examines the full moon and wonders if it's the real moon — if she's really been gone from home for a full month — or if the moon is simply another one of the Gamemakers' fabrications. Her thoughts return to winning and going home, what life will be like if she no longer has to hunt and gather and fight to survive. Presently, those aspects of her life form her identity. She decides she doesn't ever want to have kids because even though she would be a victor, her children wouldn't be exempt from the reapings. As she watches Peeta sleep, Katniss wonders if he will change, deciding she's sure they'll be friends, but again she wonders about Gale and what he must be thinking as he watches her stare at Peeta.

The next morning, they head out to hunt, but Peeta is loud and scares away all of the animals, so they separate. He goes to gather roots and berries, while Katniss searches for prey. They work out a bird whistle to signal one another that they're okay, and when Peeta doesn't answer, Katniss runs to find him. Peeta emerges from some brush with berries in hand. Katniss yells at him for not answering her call and for eating some of their food while she was away because she notices that some of the cheese is gone from their pile. Peeta says he didn't eat the food, but offers some berries. Katniss examines them and as she does, she recalls her father's words about these berries. They are nightlock and extremely poisonous.

Just then, a cannon sounds and they see Foxface lifted by a hovercraft. Katniss explains to Peeta that Foxface is his kill, that she stole some of their food and poisoned herself with the nightlock.

Analysis

Katniss is finding it increasingly difficult to hide her emotions from the audience. She must constantly remember to act as a brave tribute should, showing no remorse for the deaths of her opponents. Just as she has always had to mask her hatred for the Capitol, she must also mask her hatred for the Games and for all they do to destroy the lives of these tributes and their families. She considers, too, what the Games must do to its victors. For the first time, she imagines how hard it must be for Haymitch to go through the pain of the Games and of losing his tributes each year. He has never married and doesn't have any children. His is a lonely life, and the reader is led to believe that many of his problems, including his drinking, are results of his Hunger Games victory. Katniss worries that she will end up that way, too. Just as Peeta wanted to remain true to his identity during the Games, Katniss wants to make sure she remains true to her identity afterward.

She considers the moon and its authenticity, noting how the arena is such a surreal environment that it's difficult to discern reality from fabrication. Here, the moon symbolizes Katniss' larger desire for truth and authenticity. She still doubts Peeta's affections toward her, describing how he's such a good liar that he even has her convinced of his love at times, and how she hopes that they will remain friends when the Games are over.

As usual, when Katniss' thoughts turn to Peeta, they often find Gale, too. Gale, who exists outside the arena, provides a source of very real security and comfort that she hasn't been able to maintain in the Games. She often finds opportunity to compare the two of them. When Katniss and Peeta are hunting and Peeta is making so much noise, she can't help but think of Gale and his stealth while hunting.

Katniss' determination to help Thresh's and Rue's families should she win hints at her desire for more interaction and cooperation between the districts after the Games, something that is forbidden by the Capitol. The Capitol's rules, however, don't seem to faze Katniss, whose presence in the Games has already changed them, first in how there can be two winners this year and secondly in how District 11 helped a tribute from District 12. The longer Katniss is in the Games, the more fault she finds with the Capitol and the more resolve she has to rebel against their rules once she gets out of the arena, which foreshadows how Katniss will use her role as victor to stir up more conflict and change.

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