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391 pages, Hardcover
First published September 1, 2009
She has nightmares. She has flashbacks. And in the beginning you can see she’s practicing avoidance. She’s completely pushed Peeta to arm’s length, you know? She’s trying to stay away from him. Why? Because everything associated with him except some very early childhood memories are associated with the Games. She’s conflicted to some degree about her relationship with Prim because she couldn’t save Rue. So she’s dealing with all that, and her method of dealing with it is to go to the woods and be alone and keep all of that as far away as possible, because there just are so many triggers in her everyday life. - from the Time interviewPart of the requirement for games winners is to go on a Victory Tour across all the districts. One of the soft spots in the logic of the story is that President Snow would think for a second that parading across the defeated districts the youngsters who had killed their children was anything but a guaranteed recipe for disaster. It is believed that Katniss' popularity and selling the lie of her death-defying love for Peeta would gain some love for the Capitol, and would dampen public unrest. Sure, whatever. Of course, Katniss manages to fan the flames of the people’s unhappiness with things as they are by her acts of kindness and respect for some of her fallen competitors and their families. As her popularity grows, the pin she wore in the 74th games, the mockingjay, spreads as a symbol of resistance. I am sure Emily Dickenson would approve. Time for Plan B.
The Hunger Games is a reality television program. An extreme one, but that's what it is. And while I think some of those shows can succeed on different levels, there's also the voyeuristic thrill, watching people being humiliated or brought to tears or suffering physically. And that's what I find very disturbing. There's this potential for desensitizing the audience so that when they see real tragedy playing out on the news, it doesn't have the impact it should. It all just blurs into one program. - from Scholastic articleAnd it is not exactly news that we are increasingly living in a world in which the one-percenters get to live lives of obscene luxury while working people are denied basic rights. The ancient Roman practice of eating to excess, then using a vomitorium to make room for even more indulgence is brought up in Collins’ vision as a very telling link between decadence old and new.
“The odds are never in our favour”
“He offered me sugar and wanted to know all my secrets”
“I have to kill them all to save Peeta”
“Remember, girl on fire […] I'm still betting on you.”
“You're my whole life.”
Then I turned and as Gale and Haelle and all the kids waiting for me, so what could I do but go along?; Who is here? What do they want? Why is my mother so pale?; What could he be doing here?
If he knows this, what else does he know? And how does he know it? (...)loaded down with game? Haven't we for years? (...) Or have they> Could we have been followed? (...) Cameras? (...) what have they seen?
(...)what have I done?; What does he do? Drink it?; And who knows who else will pay for my actions? And how?; What would he do with the information, anyway?; (...)but how do I bein that coversation? Hey, Peeta, remember how I was kind of faking being in love with you?; (...)if I'd been raised in the Capitol?; Who else will I fail to save from the Capitol's vengeance? Who else will be dead if I don't satisfy President Snow? That really isn't the point, though, is it? (...) two victors chosen for the arena?; (...)than risking the alternative?; What would they do if I simply vanished? Disappeared into the woods and never came out? (...) start a new life deep in the wild?; What does this mean?
(another barrage of questioning in chapter 4); Do what? Blow my lips up like President Snow's? Tattoo my breasts? Dye my skin magenta and implant gems in it? Cut decorative patterns in my face? Give me curved talons? Or cat's whiskers? (...) Do they really have no idea how freakish they look to the rest of us?
How far south have we come in a day? If I had a bow and arrows, would I just keep going? What do they do? Have preliminary drawings? (...)make sure they're in the crowd? (...) offering to take her place?; Is it because I didn't save Rue?; (...)leaving all the words to Peeta?; Is she Thresh's grandmother?; (...) salute to the girl that defied the Capitol?; Who was that? Thresh's grandmother? One of Rue's little sisters?; How on earth did I cause so much trouble? (...) has that question actually been preying on him? How did I not know that?; Did I do it? Was it enough? (...) promising to marry Peeta enough?; but who would know? BUt what can he do?; (...) what's it like at the other houses?; But why? Have I? But will he even come? Didn't I do the same thing to my mother? (...) dismiss this as foolishness?; Why should I?; Why doesn't he see what's so undeniable?; Anything they made in the Capitol? Was that directed at me? (...) therefore something untouchable?"; Pr won't she?; What happened? Did he try to come to Gale's aid before I got here?; Where was he from? District 3? From the Capitol itself?; (...) but what is the worst pain?; Who could it be at this hour of the night?; What am I angry about though?; Does everyone look younger asleep?; (...) of his life to see it?; (...) districts are right? (...) conscious one?; (...)I have to try to fight? (...) so evil that there is no choice? (...) have been treated?"; Was it even planned, or something that simply erupted out of years of hatred and resentment? How could we do that here? Would the people of District 12 join in or lock their doors? (...) and have no idea what to do?; who am I to question her?; But what kind of love does she mean? What do I mean when I say I love Gale? (...) does he?; (...) with bricks and torches?
Is he really planning to go through with it? What, in his twisted brain, will that achieve? Is it for the benefit of those in the Capitol? (...) And then he'll kill us? As a lesson to the districts?
Who else would I be?;
What if they're right? Could it be true? Could there be somewhere to run besides the wilderness? Somewhere safe? (...) instead of waiting here for my death?
(...) persuade the crowd of my love for Peeta?; I have people on my side? What side?Am I unwittingly the face of the hoped-for rebellion? Has the mockingjay on my pin become a symbol of resistance?;
What is going on? Has Thread turned on the fence as an addition security measure? Or does he somehow know I've escaped his net today? Is he determined to strand me outside District 12 until he can apprehend and arrest me? Drag me to the square to be locked in the stockade or whipped or hanged?
I thought no one saw me sneak under the fence, but who knows?; Could there be surveillance cameras? (...) knows about the kiss?; But what choice do I have? (...)who knows what I'd be jumping into?; (...)invited by the Peacekeepers? (...)is he carefully instructing Thread what to do? Or is Thread acting on his own?; What is?; What can he do with that? What does it mean? Existing pool of victors?; Where? Where to go?; Why?; (...)written down seventy-five years ago?; What just went through my mnd?; How did I even get to this place?; What did I come for? What could I possibly want here?(...)who knows what he could get me to agree to?; (...)if it weren't for Peeta? (...) kissed him bac had I been free to do so?; (...)under different circumstances?; What else could it be?; Lover?; And why should I?; (...)doing with flaming belts? Broiling themselves?; (...)am I wrong? Or do I see the president fixated on me as well?; What did I do now?; What would we say, anyway? That we're sorry for the other's lot? That we ache for the other's pain? That we're glad we had the chance to know each other?; What's to discuss?; Only who could I trust? (...)only to possibly kill her later?; What did Peeta do? Something to upset them?; But how did he upset them?; Do you have any idea how much I hate you? You, who have given your talents to the Games?; (...)he's the head Gamemaker?; will this help Peeta stay alive?; Was it to conceal something they were unable to wash away?; What better way to give hope to the rebels? Are they jealous of its beauty? The power it might have to manipulate the crowd?; (...)why doesn't he change the Quell?; What has he done?; What can it mean? Keep a secret from who?Where on earth is he going with this? And me? vthe loss of my children to the Games? And it could be true now, couldn't it? (...) suggestion of marriage or a family?; How real are the tears?; Is this an acknowledgment that he has been stalked by the same fears that I have? That every victor has? Every parent in every district in Panem?; Do we sleep?; Why are they delaying this?; But move where?
Where is he now? What are they doing to him? Torturing him? Killing him?Turning him into an Avox?;
Where are you?; Where are you?; Why didn't he tell me about this arrangement before?; Could this all be a ruse? For Finnick to win my trust, and then swim out and drown Peeta?; Well, what did I think? (...)universal truce in the arena? (...)what? Restraint?; I wait? Know him better? Owe him more?; And how long did I take to turn deadly? But to what end? And who knows what the night will hold? So how can I kill him in his sleep? Why didn't he just let him die?; Why could he possibly have wanted to save Peeta? And why was he so determined to team up with me? (...) and what was it doing?; What is it?What does that signify? One ring for each district? Maybe. But why? "Mean anything, do you think?"; (...)how would I have gotten Peeta out of here alive? Was it because she was so old her days were numbered anyway? (...) and me as allies?; Do the various attacks stay within the confines of the jungle?; But why would he?; But what are my options?; Where is it? Where is it?; (...)knife in his leg?; So why have they chosen Peeta to protect?; (...) Peeta's life above their own?; (...)to choose him over myself?; Has Haymitch convinced the others of this?; (...)the rest of us could claim?; (...) decided effots to keep him alive?; Where is she? What are they doing to her?; How did she get here? Why is she part of the games?; Above me? Do they have her up in the trees? Why didn't Peeta come to help me? Why did no one come after us?; Why?; But as I stretch out on the sand I wonder, could it be more? (...) have kids with Gale?; How long can we keep up this alliance?; What if I am wrong about the others protecting Peeta?; I don't understand what's actually going on?; (...)but what does it matter now?; because who knows what Chaff's up to?;
But why? I've set thousands of snares. Isn't this just a larger snare with a more scientific component? Could it work? (...) trained to gather fish and lumber and coal? What do we know about harnessing power from the sky?
How can I protect him from a distance?; Stay down? I think. What? What is happening?; Am I?; Am I as good as dead?; This, in itself, can't be a sinal to kill, can it?; I can still hear the insects, but are they starting to fade?;
What did Beetee do? Did he actually try to drive the knife into the force field the way Peeta did by accident? And what's the deal with the wire? Was this his backup plan? (...) into the force field? What would that do, anyway? Nothing? A great deal? Fry us all? ;
But what is he doing?; (...)will Peeta survive the rest? Why would I need reminding?; what did he call it that day?; Will they let anyone survive? Will there be a victor of the Seventy-fifth Hunger Games? (...) read from the card?; Save him?; Where are the others, then?; (...)and... one more, right?; But where have they taken them? Moved them from hospital to prison?; (...)he'll be excused his crimes? Or did he really have no idea what Beetee intended? what else has he lied about?; Do I really want him dead?; But will Peeta now that or will he keep fighting?; Does he think he has a chance of surviving?; Does he even care if he does?'; hat has happened to him? How is he even here?
"You're hideous, you know that right?"; "Walk?"; "Did Cinna come early to help me get ready?"; "There have been uprisings?"; "Why don't you just kill me now?" "Who says I'm not?"; "What do you mean? How can I aim higher?"; "Did I design my outfit?"; "Why?"; "Where's everyone else?"; "Doesn't he need prepping?"; "What's yours?" "Orange? Like Effie's hair?"; "How do remember these things so exactly?"; "Does it help? To paint them out?"; "Want to see my talent?"; "Did you choose me, Haymitch?"; "Why?"; "...is there? Not being straight with each other?"; "About what?" "So, you're the Head Gamemaker this year?"; "Are you plannin the Quarter Quell Games already?"; "What?"; (...)"having a nightmare?"; "Are you sure you don't want it back?"; "Where did you get it anyway?"
"Really? You don't think I'm mad? You'll go with me?"; "You're sure?"; "Do you think I'm making this stuff up?"; "What about your family?; "Going to town?"; (...)"would you?"; "You will?"; "What?"; "No, but can you get Hazelle? SEnd her over?"; "Can you save him?"; "Can't you give him another shot?"; "What did you do in the arm months?"; "Why didn't you put this on him last night?"; "Where's Peeta?"; "Did he get back all right?"; "Have you seen Haymitch today?"; "Then what's your plan?"; "What's he want that for?"; "Ypu closed down too?"; "What is it? What does that mean?"; "Who are you?"; "Where'd you get the uniforms?"; "What's that about?"; "What are you going to do?"; "Thirteen?"; "What's wrong with your leg?"; "Anyone after you?"; "Making tea?"; "Out of food?"; "So, what's your story?"; (...) expect to find in District Thirteen?"; "Really?"; "See what?";
"You're going to District Thirteen based on that? A shot of a bird? You think you're just going to find some new city with people strolling around in it? And that's just fine with the Capitol?"; "Why haven't they helped us? If it's true, why do they leave us to live like this? With the hunger and the killings and the Games?"; "Can I help you with something?"; "When did you say that?"; "You have a message for me?"; "Didn't it already?"; "How was school?"; "Why couldn't you get shrimp? Is it out of season?";
I begin to question them casually (...) I want to ask them more (...) "Do you still think it won't work here?"; But maybe at some point?; What do you think they'll do, Haymitch? To the districts that are rebelling?; So you think Thirteen was really destroyed?; What are you going to do?; It'd be bad for you in the arena, wouldn't it? Knowing all the others?; What's done?; "You what?"; What business is it of yours what he does?; What?; What are you going to do?; What's with him?; Who's next?; Is this the person who won twenty-five in here? (...) do you?; (...) did he?; So what are we wearing for the opening ceremonies? Headlamps or fire?; How did you do this?; What do you spend all yours on, anyway, FInnick?; Then how do they pay you for the pleasure of your company?; Have you seen your suit turned on?; Are we supposed to hold hands this year?; The families?; What?; Why?; So why bother?; You mean you want us in the Career pack this year?; (...)is that what you're saying? Why does that not surprise me?; What about you?; How are we going to kill these people, Peeta?"; Why did Haymitch want us to get to know them?; You painted something didn't you?; Why would he paint a picture of me, Effie?; Is it a secret?; Have they ever given a zero?; Why did they do that?; (...)piece in their Games?; So, what should we do with our last few days?; You?; What?; Then you'll allow it?; So, what am I wearing tonight?; Was this heavy?; Will I be twirling again?; the most beautiful thing?; The others went home?; What?; What do you think?; Sun?; Each take one side?; Remind me, did we make deals with anyone else?; What?; Peeta?; Peeta?; Is this your token? Can't you hear it?; Whose is it?; What is it?: Can you fish with it, Mags?; Can you take them both?; Finnick?; Where did they go?; Think it's safe to try for the water again?; Why don't you two get some rest?; (...)haven't looked pretty?; What now?; What does she mean? She got them for me?; What do I have to work with? Seawater?; So what were you doing with Nuts and Volts?; Are you thirsty?; Did you notice anything unusual in the others?; Prim?; At the final eight?; No?; You really believe that?; Do you believe it, Finnick?; Who?; Was that the earthquake year?; Did she get better after?; I mean, her mind?; Do you think they figured out about the clock? Why not?; Guess who I'm not fooling with that story?; Ready?; Peeta?; Peeta?; Who cut you?; The first one? Why?; What?; Where is Peeta?; Like bait? Like how they'll use Annie for bait, Finnick?; Prim?; They're not in District Twelve?;
Maybe he's too pretty, or maybe he's too easy to get, or maybe it's really that he'd just be too easy to lose..
Then I'm at a party where everyone wears masks and someone with a flicking wet tongue, who I suppose is Finnick, stalks me, but when he catches me and pulls off his mask, it's President Snow, and his puffy lips are dripping in bloody saliva
"And the more I come to know these people, the worse it is. Because, on the whole, I don't hate them. And some I like. And a lot of them are so damaged that my natural instinct would be to protect them. But all of them must die if I'm to save Peeta."
It's an awful lot to take in, this elaborate plan in which I was a piece, just as I was meant to be a piece in the Hunger Games. Used without consent, without knowledge. At least in the Hunger Games, I knew I was being played with.
Life in District 12 isn't really so different from life in the arena. At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead. The hard thing is finding the courage to do it.
I look up into those blue eyes that no amount of dramatic make-up can make truly deadly and remember how, just a year ago, I was prepared to kill him. Convinced he was trying to kill me. Now everything is reversed.