Summary and Analysis
Katniss continues to struggle against the tracker jacker venom, which targets a person's fears and makes them come to life through hallucinations. She remains in a nightmarish haze, imagining Prim dying, her father's last moments, and herself torn to pieces. Finally, she wakes. The venom has worked its way through her system, but she can't tell how long she has been asleep. While she works to regain her bearings, she thinks about Gale and how he'd asked her to run away with him. These thoughts are interrupted by thoughts of Peeta and how he saved her life. She wonders if she was hallucinating, but is sure that she wasn't. Then she tries to figure out why Peeta saved her, what angle he was taking this time. Eventually, she pushes Gale and Peeta out of her mind; she doesn't like thinking about them both at once.
Her goal is, once again, to find water, which she does. She goes hunting with her bow and arrow, getting a feel for it, and kills a rabbit and a bird. While roasting the bird, she notices Rue in the trees. She says that she could use an ally and Rue comes out of her hiding place, asking if Katniss is serious. When she says that she is, they share food and supplies. Coming from different districts, they are each equipped with knowledge of particular plants, berries, and animals. Rue's district, District 11, specializes in agriculture. She has had plenty of practice moving from tree to tree in her orchards at home before coming to the Games. She also knows about different berries and the types of leaves to use to relieve tracker jacker stings. Katniss wonders if the cameras are off of them while they share details about their respective districts. She knows that the Capitol doesn't want people in different districts to know about one another.
Rue also tells Katniss that what Katniss thinks are sunglasses are, in fact, night-vision goggles, an invaluable tool in the Games. She fills Katniss in on the Careers, too, and what kinds of supplies they have at the Cornucopia. Katniss asks about Peeta and mentions that she isn't sure he saved her since he was with the Careers. Rue tells her that Peeta isn't with them anymore. She also says that she doesn't believe that Peeta's lover boy act is an act at all.
Katniss thinks about the Careers and all of their supplies and realizes that, as these are the Hunger Games, it's time that the Careers went hungry.
Katniss' realization that she can't think about both Gale and Peeta at the same time reveals that she does, in fact, have feelings for both of them. Her feelings differ for each of them, but they are competing for her attention, and with the Games going on, it is too much for her to think of. Still, she questions whether she imagined Peeta saving her or if he truly did keep the Careers from killing her, indicating that she maintains a bit of doubt about Peeta's character.
Her alliance with Rue serves her well, especially once the two of them start swapping knowledge and supplies. Not only does Katniss trust Rue, but she also sees some of Prim in her, too, which is a welcomed reminder of home. She mentions that while they are allies now, they understand it can't last forever, but they don't discuss it because surviving the Careers is still their main priority. When Rue begins to tell Katniss about the brutality of punishments in District 11, as well as about the different leaves and plants and animals that they have, Katniss thinks about the Gamemakers and how they would probably be afraid to air any of this discussion. One of the ways in which the Capitol is able to maintain control over the districts is by keeping people in different districts apart. Perhaps if they knew just how similar they all are, or how they could easily work together, then the Capitol would be in danger of another uprising. Katniss certainly increases her strength by joining forces with another tribute. It is interesting, too, that they both come from underdog districts, where daily living is a struggle. Katniss and Rue's friendship and exchange of knowledge is exactly what the Capitol is afraid will happen between entire districts, a combination of forces that could lead to a revolt in much the same way that Katniss and Rue are taking on the Careers.
Katniss trusts Rue, and when Rue claims that she doesn't think that Peeta was putting on a lover-boy act at all, that he truly is in love with Katniss, the reader is led to believe that Katniss will give Rue's comments serious consideration. She's been wavering on Peeta throughout the entire novel, and now she has someone else to talk to about him, someone who believes that Peeta genuinely loves her and was trying to protect her. Still, Katniss works to sort her thoughts out.
In the meantime, she begins devising a plan to get at the Careers' supplies, particularly their food. She decides that the problem in the Hunger Games so far is that the Careers haven't been hungry enough. This foreshadows how Katniss and Rue will work to weaken and take down the Careers later.