Summary and Analysis
Part 3: Chapter 20
Katniss is able to get Peeta to drink the broth with a lot of coaxing and kissing. They spend the next day in the cave, flirting; Katniss maintains that she's putting on an act for the audience's sake. Peeta can tell that Katniss hasn't slept, so he says he'll keep watch during the day, stroking her hair until she falls asleep. When she wakes, she examines Peeta's leg and can see that it's much worse: there are red streaks that indicate blood poisoning. Now she's desperate to get him medication, but knows that it will be incredibly expensive for sponsors to send.
Peeta wants to hear a story, so she tells him a fake story about how Katniss got Prim's goat, Lady. The true story is that she got the money for the goat when she and Gale killed a buck in the woods and sold it to the butcher, Rooba. She, however, doesn't want to get anyone in District 12 in trouble, so she says that she sold her mother's silver locket. Then, she describes how she and Gale took the money to the market and the Goat Man was there with an injured goat that he was planning to sell to Rooba for meat. Katniss purchased that goat after Rooba came by and said that she, in fact, didn't want the goat; then she winked at Katniss. Together, Katniss and Gale deliver the goat to Prim who was all too excited to care for it.
Peeta's fever continues to rise. Katniss hears the trumpet followed by another announcement from Claudius Templesmith. He explains that at this point in the Games, every tribute is in desperate need of something. He or she will find that very thing in a backpack at the Cornucopia the next day at dawn. Peeta tells Katniss he won't let her go, won't let her risk her life for his. She lies, saying that she won't go. Then, when she's outside the cave at the stream, a gift parachutes down to her. It's a vial. At first, Katniss thinks it's anti-infection medicine meant to cure Peeta, but she smells and tastes it and recognizes that it's sleep syrup. She understands why Haymitch sent it. She mixes the medicine in with some mashed-up berries and mint leaves and has Peeta eat it. He comments on the sweetness of the berries and realizes what Katniss has done, but it's too late. He drifts off into sleep.
While Katniss maintains that her displays of affection toward Peeta are for show, she notices that his gestures toward her seem so natural. She keeps Gale out of her stories, partly to protect him and partly because she knows that it wouldn't sit right with Peeta or the audience. This chapter further illustrates how Katniss is a protector of others. By changing her story about Prim's goat, she protects those in District 12 who are involved in her illegal hunting, similar to how she's felt a constant need to protect Prim, her mother, Rue, and now Peeta.
Katniss masks any emotions that she believes will make her feel weak. For instance, when she says that the goat has made her happy because it provides her family with milk and cheese and the money that comes from those things, Peeta is quick to point out that he's sure the goat made Prim happy, which, in turn, meant a lot to Katniss. Peeta is more willing to express these softer emotions, while Katniss continues to mask them.
With Peeta's leg worsening, we know that Katniss, in her role as protector, will do whatever she can to ensure that Peeta lives. With Claudius' announcement and Katniss' drugging of Peeta, we end the chapter knowing that Katniss will make her way to the Cornucopia, which is a dangerous endeavor. Claudius' announcement states that each of the remaining tributes is desperate for something, so the reader can expect Katniss to run into other tributes who will do anything to get the backpack marked for his or her district.