The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games Summary and Analysis of Chapters 10-11


Katniss immediately endeavors to hide her emotions, even though the crowd shows great support for this new development. She avoids Peeta until they are back on their floor, at which point she shoves him into some plants that shatter and hurt his hands. Haymitch arrives and diffuses the situation, arguing that Peeta's declaration only helps her case by making her look desirable and attractive to sponsors.

Once they are reunited at dinner, Peeta's hands are bandaged and Katniss curses that she owes him yet again. After watching their replay on TV, which Katniss acknowledges to herself was effective, they must say their good-byes until the games begin the next day. Effie thanks them, and then Haymitch gives them his final advice: when the gong sounds, run away from the group and make water first priority.

That night, Katniss decides to keep her fingernails flame-painted and then, for the first time, wears the Capitol-given nightgown to sleep. But despite needing to rest for the sake of her strength, she can't sleep. She goes out to the roof, where she finds Peeta lost in thought. When he confesses to her that he knows he can't win but wants to die "as himself" – that is, without having had his morality compromised by the Game – Katniss is shamed by his purity and transfers it to contempt. There are no rules in the arena, she convinces herself, and he will certainly compromise himself eventually, as she plans to do in order to survive.

The next morning, she is brought up to a hovercraft on the roof, where she is implanted via syringe with a tracking device so the Gamekeepers can keep her story televised. After a half hour ride and a final nice breakfast, Katniss is lowered into underground quarters for final preparation in what is called the "Launch Room." After a shower, she is dressed in the tribute outfit, a simple get-up that all tributes will wear. Cinna surprises her by giving her the mockingjay pin she had forgotten. Cinna tenderly comforts her until she is lifted by glass cylinder up to the surface, where she is blinded by the light and surprised by the voice of the famous announcer, Claudius Templesmith, as he welcomes everyone to the 74th Hunger Games.


Each tribute stands on his or her own metal circle, all equidistant from the "Cornucopia," an oversized golden horn in the middle of the field, overflowing with supplies including food and weapons. Other tools are spread throughout the field. The rule (pretty much the only one) states that tributes must wait 60 seconds before a gong allows them to step off, or they will be blown up by land mines. After that begins the "bloodbath," wherein tributes rush for supplies and enter their first skirmishes.

Katniss uses her minute to take in her surroundings. On one end of their plain, the ground seems to drop off. On one side is a lake, and on another the border of sparse woodland. Haymitch's advice suggests she should eschew any supplies and rush into the woods in search for water. But she is likewise tempted to compete for the boons, which include a bow and arrow she believes must have been left for her. She is undecided and looks over to Peeta, several metal circles over, but her inability to read what he is trying to tell her proves distracting, and she is not ready to make a sprint when the gong is struck.

Therefore, she gives up on the plan to rush for the Cornucopia and instead grabs an orange backpack near her. Another boy arrives at the same time but before they can fight, he spits blood in her face and she sees he has been killed via a knife in his back. A girl from District 2 (later identified as Clove), is revealed as the killer proficient with throwing knives. Katniss rushes immediately towards the woods, and her instincts lead her to lift her bag to protect her head, which gains her a knife that otherwise would have killed her. Before she rushes into the woods, she turns to see several tributes fighting at the Cornucopia and several others reduced to corpses in the field.

For several hours, she continues to move through the woods. She is happy to see rabbits, since they promise not only game to be hunted later, but also the existence of a water source other than the lake near the starting field. All the while, she's aware that she could well be on TV. Hours later, she hears the first shots of the cannon, each shot of which signifies the death of a tribute.

Once she's far enough removed to justify rest, she examines the contents of her backpack to find: some small non-perishable foods; a sleeping bag designed for the cold; some iodine for treating water; a pair of sunglasses; and other survival supplies. Meanwhile, she is beginning to register the symptoms of her thirst, and fears dehydration.

Nighttime comes, and after setting some snares, she protects herself by climbing up into a tree that her bigger opponents could never scale even if they did see her. She rigs herself safely so she can sleep, and from that vantage watches the nightly recap. Each night, the Panem anthem plays and then images of that day's dead tributes are broadcast into the sky. She is relieved that Peeta's face is not among them. Of those still alive are also the five "Career" kids, a girl she has dubbed "Foxface," an extremely large boy named Thresh, and the little girl, Rue.

It is cold at night, and her sleeping bag is crucial to keeping her comfortable. She is able to sleep but is woken by the sound of snapping branches nearby. She realizes that someone is building a fire, an extremely stupid mistake that soon attracts the Career tributes, who she sees have formed an alliance, not uncommon for the early stages of the games. After hearing the fire-maker's screams, the Careers gather nearby and are surprised not to hear a cannon. They wonder if they'd effectively killed the girl, and argue until one of them volunteers to go back and finish her off. Katniss's biggest shock, however, is to realize that it's Peeta who made that offer.


These are some of the most exciting chapters from an adventure standpoint, since they reveal for the first time Katniss's honed survival instincts in their full glory.

All the while, Katniss's conflict between stoic detachment and her emotions continues to escalate. Obviously, her confusion about Peeta's motives has never been greater than after his confession to Caeser Flickerman. And after his roof-top confession, she doesn't know how to understand his sensitivity as divorced from a possible tactical value. What's happening is she dislikes herself for her survival stoicism but is unable to manage that insight and so lashes out at him instead. She feels almost vindicated when she believes he has allied himself with the Careers, but still harbors the lingering sadness of perceived betrayal. In other words, her emotions are getting harder to control – symbolized by her desire to keep her fingernails painted with the flame design.

The flame design also speaks to the ever-increasing revolutionary zeal. Peeta's confessed desire to die "as himself" really cuts Katniss to the quick, since she had settled on a stoic detachment from her fellow tributes. Though it doesn't register for a while, Peeta's idealism speaks to her nascent revolutionary zeal, an indignation that makes the Capitol her antagonist, and her community her allies.

She will even play to the spectacle. Her awareness of the potential audience that could be watching her grows evermore important to her. The brutality of the games is becoming more apparent to the reader with glimpses of how manipulated the Game is for entertainment value.

Significant naming continues in this section. Important people associated with the running of the Games have explicitly Roman names - Caesar Flickerman, Claudius Templesmith, Seneca Crane, and, in later books, Plutarch Heavensbee. In the case of Caesar and Claudius, their surnames also describe their work. It is a graceful naming convention, thematically tying the Capitol's gamemakers to the Romans, while contrasting with the District 12 names that tend to sound like plants and flowers.