Summary and Analysis
Part 2: “The Assault”:
When bruised-neck Katniss wakes from Peeta’s attempted strangling of her, she learns that Peeta’s mind has been “hijacked” using a technique that involves injecting small doses of tracker jacker venom into the victim. Peeta’s memories have been manipulated so that he sees Katniss as life-threatening and will stop at nothing to kill her.
Haymitch tells Katniss that she is needed in the hospital. Katniss watches from an observation room as the doctors send in Delly Cartwright, Peeta’s childhood friend, to talk to him, hoping that she will not trigger a violent outbreak. Peeta meets Delly with great relief: He wants to know about District 12. As they discuss District 12, Peeta spirals out of control, blaming Katniss for the district’s destruction and accusing her of being a mutt created by the Capitol to use against everyone.
Heartbroken, Katniss tells Haymitch and Plutarch that she can’t stay in District 13 anymore. Rebels have taken every district except for District 2, so Katniss asks to go there.
Although Peeta is physically safe from the Capitol, he is still very much in the Capitol’s grasp. The hijacking of his memories emphasizes the recurring theme of trying to discern real from unreal. Peeta now lives in a world in which he can’t decipher what has really happened between him and Katniss versus what the Capitol has planted and distorted in his mind.
Katniss continues to realize how much Prim has grown and how wonderful she truly is. For so long, Katniss felt like she had to take care of and protect Prim. Katniss marvels at how Prim is able to maintain such a clear and steady vision. Prim is now the one taking care of Katniss, physically in the hospital and emotionally as Katniss tries to make sense of what has happened to Peeta and wonders if she will ever have him back.
Meanwhile, Katniss and Gale grow farther apart. The attack plan that Gale devises — using bombing tactics that play on people’s emotions — reminds Katniss of the kind of devious plan that Snow would devise. It’s manipulative and cruel, and Katniss can’t give in to that strategy even if it’s something the Capitol would readily do in return to the rebels.
When Peeta calls Katniss a mutt, or a muttation, created by the Capitol to use against the rebels, Katniss can’t help but believe she’s all but lost to Peeta and that he is all but lost to her. Even here, in District 13, the Capitol maintains Peeta as its prisoner, still outside of Katniss’ grasp just like the light in the Crazy Cat game. She must remove herself from this game and go to District 2, where at least she can be useful. She continues to be driven by her desire to kill Snow.