Summary and Analysis
Katniss is at first so angry with Peeta for his comments, believing that he made her look weak, that when they get off on floor 12, she shoves him. He knocks an urn over, shattering it, and then falls and cuts his hands on the shards. Haymitch, Effie, Cinna, and Portia find them there and explain to Katniss that Peeta has made her look desirable, that the entire Capitol is talking about her, so Peeta has, in fact, done her a huge favor. She apologizes to Peeta and, again, feels that she owes him.
That night, she and Peeta say goodbye to Effie and Haymitch, who will go to the Games Headquarters. Haymitch's final advice is to start running at the sound of the gong, to ignore the Cornucopia and put as much distance as possible between themselves and the other tributes, and to find water. That night, sleep eludes Katniss, so she heads up to the rooftop to get some air. She finds Peeta there, his hands bandaged. They talk about the Games that will come tomorrow. Katniss has been thinking about the landscape, hoping for trees, while Peeta wants to make sure that he remains true to his identity in the Games, that he doesn't turn into some kind of monster in the arena. Peeta doesn't think he can survive the Games, and when Katniss offers encouragement, they argue and Katniss leaves.
The next morning, Cinna and Katniss take a hovercraft to the arena, a place that becomes a tourist hot-spot when the Games are over. Katniss has a tracker injected into her forearm. After they land, she goes underground to the Launch Room, or the Stockyard as the people in the districts call it, and begins her preparations for the start of the Games. Cinna helps her dress and does her hair in her trademark braid down her back. Then, he pulls out the gold mockingjay pin that he found on the shirt that she left on the train. He fastens it to her shirt, and they hold hands until it's time for Katniss to enter the arena. Cinna says that he truly believes that Katniss will win.
A cylinder carries Katniss up to the arena, where she's met by bright sunlight and the voice of Claudius Templesmith, the Games' announcer, marking the beginning of the 74th Hunger Games.
The Games are constantly causing Katniss to question those around her, particularly Peeta, but even Haymitch, whom she believes doesn't like or care about her, which is particularly stressful since he is in charge of delivering any gifts from sponsors. Katniss continues to struggle to decipher Peeta's motives. She doubts him and believes that he has declared his love for her in order to make her appear weak in front of the other tributes and sponsors. She accuses Haymitch of helping Peeta more than he helps her. Effie and Haymitch explain to her, though, that Peeta has given her an edge by making her desirable, and Cinna, whom Katniss trusts most, confirms this. Peeta even brings up Gale, saying that Katniss is angry only because she's afraid of what her boyfriend will think, revealing a hint of jealousy on his part. Katniss fluctuates between feeling used and feeling helped and decides that, in the end, Peeta has helped her and now she owes him for his help and for hurting him the day before the Games.
On the rooftop, Peeta brings up the recurring theme of identity. Much of their technique in the Games so far has been to mask their true identities, working to put on a show for the Capitol and win sponsors for the Games. They have been remade physically and have been coached to act in particular ways. They have even been bestowed particular identities: Peeta has now become the lovesick and likeable boy, Katniss remains the desirable girl on fire, and together they are star-crossed lovers. Peeta, however, knows that the Games can change people, and he wants to at least die as himself. He wants to, in some way, rebel against the Capitol and show them that they don't own him, making the reader wonder how he might choose to do this in the Games.
The bird theme returns in this chapter, too. So far, birds have appeared in reference to Katniss' father and to Rue. Katniss often feels caged and wishes she could be like the birds that she sees flying outside her window on the hovercraft on her way to the arena, and she recalls the sound of the bird that sang out just before the hovercraft appeared to take the Avox girl away. Finally, Cinna gives Katniss the mockingjay pin that she's forgotten, reminding her of home. The reappearance of this pin recalls Peeta's desire to let those in the Capitol know they don't own him and stands as an image of hope and a sense of identity for Katniss in the Games.