Summary and Analysis
Part 2: “The Assault”:
After much debate, the decision is made to bomb the Nut and cause an avalanche, blocking all of the exits. However, the train tunnel from the mountain to the district’s city square will be left open, allowing people to escape. Rebels will station themselves in the square to take any survivors captive.
Katniss suits up in her Mockingjay uniform and watches from the roof of the Justice Building as hoverplanes bomb the Nut, sending avalanches of rock down the mountainside and successfully sealing off the exits. Unable to watch anymore, she goes inside the Justice Building but can hear gunfire from the square. Via the earpiece that she wears, Haymitch tells her that back in District 13, Peeta was shown a clip of Katniss’ singing “The Hanging Tree” and didn’t react with an outburst to seeing her.
That night, Katniss makes a speech on the steps of the Justice Building to all of the districts. During the speech, two trains arrive into the square’s train station; the Nut’s survivors have come armed and start shooting. When Katniss runs to help a wounded man, he turns a gun on her. A tense-filled and pointed discussion ensues between them in which Katniss pleas to both sides to stop fighting and instead to band together against the Capitol. Still being filmed, Katniss sees herself on-screen as she is struck by a bullet.
Increasingly, we see how Katniss and Gale differ in their opinions about how the war should be fought, as well as how much they have changed since their days together in the Meadow. Katniss is beginning to recognize just how angry Gale is, and understandably so, but she doesn’t agree with condemning so many people to the same deaths as their fathers experienced.
Katniss wonders what Peeta would think about Gale’s war tactics, particularly about killing or imprisoning the wounded should they fight back. This demonstrates that Katniss is more likely to align herself with Peeta rather than with Gale. No matter the circumstances, Peeta has always tried to play by his own moral rules rather than the deceitful and dirty rules established by the Capitol. Gale, on the other hand, is driven by his anger.
Katniss recognizes the strong presence of her father during the bombing of the Nut, recalling the events of the night spent by the mine waiting for him to surface. He was present in Katniss’ ability to quiet the mockingjays in an earlier propo, as well as when she sang “The Hanging Tree” song, and now she sees him in the character of Boggs when Boggs wraps her in blankets. Again, Boggs cares for Katniss as a father would.
The theme of hot and cold is strong in this chapter. Katniss feels as if she has no heat left in her blood to fight. Even the marble surfaces in the Justice Building take the heat away from her. Ironically, Katniss, who is supposed to be “the girl on fire,” has no more heat left to fuel her. She lacks hope, seeing what has become of the people of Panem, how they kill their neighbors all because of the Capitol.
Once again, this time at the train station, Katniss tries to make it clear that the Capitol treats Panem’s citizens as slaves. All of Panem needs to understand that the Capitol is the true enemy, the one that holds them all in its viselike grip and uses them as pieces in its many, many games. From the Hunger Games to the starving and deprivation to the manipulation and fear and lies — everything has been an ongoing game, and Katniss refuses to let the Capitol win.