Chapter 2 -By Erin
Katniss is paralyzed with shock as her sister makes her way towards the podium. The crowd murmurs, because Prim is only 12. As she walks by, Kat sees that the back of Prim’s shirt has come untucked, and this throws her back into reality. She runs after her, the crowd easily parting. They reach the stairs at the same time, and Kat pushes Prim back and shouts “I volunteer as tribute!” There’s protocol for this, but no one remembers what it is anymore, since a tribute in District 12 nearly always means death. In other districts it’s an honor, but not here. Effie Trinket and the mayor call Katniss up, but Prim grabs onto her and screams that she can’t go. Gale appears and lifts Prim up and carries her to her mother, while Kat tries not to cry (the Reapings are televised, and if she cries, she will be marked as an easy target by the other tributes). Effie is thrilled that there is a volunteer and calls for applause, but no one makes a sound. The crowd sits for a moment, then: “At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love.” The last tribute that won the Games for District 12, a middle aged (and drunk) Haymitch Abernathy, appears and throws him arm around Kat, shouting that she has spunk and taunting the cameras, before he falls off of the stage and knocks himself unconscious. Kat stares out at the hills and thinks about roaming with Gale that morning while order is restored on stage.
Effie then draws the boy tribute: Peeta Mellark. Kat panics, because she knows Peeta, the baker’s son. Peeta saved her when her mother disappeared after her father died. Kat and Prim were nearly starving, and Kat was trying to get money to buy food. She still had a month before her 12th birthday (and the day she could sign up for tesserae). Kat was walking near the bakery, picking through trash cans, but they were all empty. Suddenly the baker’s wife was screaming at her to get away from the trash, with her son peering out from behind her. Kat backed away and collapsed beneath a tree with her head on her knees. There was a sudden crash in the bakery, followed by yelling. Peeta walked out with two burnt loaves of bread, which were destined for the pigs now that they were too burnt to sell. Peeta waited until his mother was out of sight and tossed them to Kat. He had purposefully ruined the two loaves of bread (and received a black eye from his mother for it) to get them to Kat. She couldn’t understand why he’d done it, since they had never spoken before that despite being the same year in school. But Kat didn’t think about that (or that he had ruined the bread on purpose) until the next morning. At that moment she just grabbed the bread, wrapped them in her coat and ran home. The next day she saw Peeta at school, and when their eyes met he just stared at her for a moment then looked away. Kat looked down in shame, but on the ground she saw the first dandelion of the spring. She knew then that she could forage and survive (she had spent time in the woods with her father). Because of that, she felt connected to Peeta, and he was the last person she wanted to fight to death. Her last hope is that someone else will kill him, so she doesn’t have to.
“So instead of acknowledging applause, I stand there unmoving while they take part in the boldest form of dissent they can manage. Silence. Which says we do not agree. We do not condone. All of this is wrong.”
“Starvation is never the cause of death officially. It’s always the flu, or exposure, or pneumonia. But that fools no one.”
Why do you think Peeta was willing to receive a beating to save Kat?
Chapter 3-By Erin
The anthem plays as Kat and Peeta stand on stage. The second it ends, they are whisked away by the Peacekeepers inside the Justice Building, to keep them from escaping. Kat is left in a room by herself, where she sits waiting. A few minutes later her mother and Prim walk in, and Prim crawls into Kat’s lap. She holds her for a few minutes, and then she begins reminding them of everything they have to take care of since she won’t be there anymore: Prim shouldn’t take tesserare, sell goat’s milk and cheese. Gale will get them herbs for the apothecary, and meat; she reminds them to thank him with trade of some sort. She tells (nearly yelling) her mother that she can’t disappear the way she did when her father died, Prim won’t survive without her. Kat tells her she has to fight it. Prim looks up at Kat and tells her she has to fight too, maybe she can win and come home. A Peacekeeper comes in and tells them time is up. They leave and Kat puts her face into the pillows. Someone else comes in, and it’s Peeta’s father, the baker. Kat assumes it’s because he knows Prim-she saves cheese for him and he gives her bread. He hands her a few cookies and they sit in silence for a few minutes. He promises to look after Prim and make sure she’s eating. After he leaves, Madge, the mayor’s daughter walks in. She gives Kat a gold pin-a bird in flight. She asks her to wear it as a token and to wear it in the arena. Kat agrees, and Madge kisses her on the cheek before she leaves. The next person to enter is Gale, and he opens his arms and she runs to them. He holds her for a minute, then starts giving her advice-find a knife right away, but a bow and arrow would be better. He tells her it’s just hunting, that she can’t think of them as people otherwise she won’t survive. The Peacekeepers come in and have to pull Kat and Gale apart. Kat begs him not to let them starve, and he starts to tell her something, but is cut off when the door is slammed between them.
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“Finally, Gale is here and maybe there is nothing romantic between us, but when he opens his arms I don’t hesitate to go into them. His body is familiar to me — the way it moves, the smell of wood smoke, even the sound of his heart beating I know from quiet moments on a hunt — but this is the first time I really feel it, lean and hard-muscled against my own.”
“Katniss, it’s just hunting. You’re the best hunter I know,’ says Gale.
‘It’s not just hunting. They’re armed. They think,’ I say.
‘So do you. And you’ve had more practice. Real practice,’ he says. ‘You know how to kill.’
‘Not people,’ I say.
‘How different can it be, really?’ says Gale grimly.
The awful thing is that if I can forget they’re people, it will be no different at all.”
What do you think Gale wanted to tell Katniss?