In the sixth chapter of The Hunger Games, we learn about casual misunderstandings and Katniss’s possible weakness. Also HURRY UP AND START, GAMES. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.
Ok, let me get this out of my system:
SERIOUSLY CAN THE GAMES START LIKE IN THE NEXT CHAPTER OR SOMETHING. I really, really need to know what the Games are going to be like and I need to know now and this is all my fault because I agree to read things one chapter at a time.
Ok. There we go. I feel a little better. LET US CARRY ON.
The walls of this elevator are made of crystal so that you can watch the people on the ground floor shrink to ants as you shoot up into the air. It’s exhilarating and I’m tempted to ask Effie Trinket if we can ride it again, but somehow that seems childish.
Is it strange that this might be my favorite moment so far? It’s a reminder of how young Katniss is and how her life is completely different from everyone who lives here in the Capitol. I think Collins has done a great job with this juxtaposition, and I like that even Katniss can recognize how impressive this sort of technology is without losing her focus on why a place like the Capitol is so awful and oppressive.
As the talk turns to sponsorships, it becomes obvious again that Effie does not have Katniss’s best interest in mind; in fact, she demonstrates a great misundertanding of what life is like outside her privileged bubble:
“I’ve been very mysterious, though,” she says, her eyes squint half shut. “Because, of course, Haymitch hasn’t bothered to tell me your strategies. But I’ve done my best with what I had to work with. How Katniss sacrificed herself for her sister. How you’ve both successfully struggled to overcome the barbarism of your district.”
Barbarism? That’s ironic coming from a woman helping to prepare us for the slaugher. And what’s she basing our success on? Our table manners?
I’ll take it one step further: Isn’t the Capitol inherently causing whatever “barbarism” exists in the first place? I mean, their economic and political policies have put in place the type of society that exists in District 12. But for a woman like Effie, she’s mostly likely either willfully ignorant or maliciously dense. Either way, that doesn’t work in Katniss’s favor.
“Everyone has their reservations, naturally. You being from the coal district. But I said, and this was very clever of me, I said, ‘Well, if you put enough pressure on coal it turns to pearls!’” Effie beams at us so brilliantly that we have no choice but to respond enthusiastically to her cleverness even though it’s wrong.
Don’t pat yourself on the back so hard, Effie. I hate this sort of self-congratulatory shittery. Not only are you wrong about the science, but you’re doing that well-intentioned condescension thing that privileged people do when they think they’re doing you a service by insulting you. NO, YOU ARE NOT. Go away, Effie.
We learn that Haymitch is actually the one who garners sponsors for District 12, which then makes me wonder: What if a District has never had a previous winner? Who gets sponsors for them? Do they go without them until someone wins?
The shower alone has a panel with more than a hundred options you can choose regulating water temperature, pressure, soaps, shampoos, scents, oils, and massaging sponges. When you step out on a mat, heaters come on that blow-dry your body. Instead of struggling with the knots in my wet hair, I merely place my hand on a box that sends a current through my scalp, untangling, parting, and drying my hair almost instantly. It floats down around my shoulders in a glossy curtain.
Um I think I really want this to be real and to be in my bathroom now. Most of the garish, over-the-top nature of the Capitol is a bit too much for me, from the auto-food-producing machines to the ridiculous wait service provided for them during meals.
The wait service scene does provide us with another flashback of Katniss’s, though, that I actually do enjoy. She recognizes a redheaded girl almost instantly, but can’t place where she remembers her from; I was confused when Effie says it is probably impossible for Katniss to know her.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Katniss. How could you possibly know an Avox?” snaps Effie. “The very thought.”
“What’s an Avox?” I ask stupidly.
“Someone who committed a crime. They cut her tongue so she can’t speak,” says Haymitch. “She’s probably a traitor of some sort. Not likely you’d know her.”
WHAT THE FUCK. Ok, that is BRUTAL. Maybe this story is going to be more violent than I expect?
Peeta covers for Katniss by suggesting they recognized someone else in District 12 and not who Katniss thought she was. It’s a clever ploy by Peeta because he waits until after dinner to call her on it. She struggles with the idea: She remembers where she remembered the girl from, but should she trust Peeta?
Besides, the idea of the girl with her maimed tongue frightens me. She has reminded me why I’m here. Not to model flashy costumes and eat delicacies. But to die a bloody death while the crowds urge on my killer.
Blunt, sure, but it’s a worthy metaphor. Not as important as what Katniss reveals about the mysterious girl, though. Peeta convinces Katniss to head up to the roof of the Training Center, a place where it’s much harder to overhear conversations.
Electricity in District 12 comes and goes, usually we only have it a few hours a day. Often the evenings are spent in candlelight. The only time you can count on it is when they’re airing the Games or some important government message on television that it’s mandatory to watch. But here there would be no shortage. Ever.
I like the insinuation that the outages in District 12 are planned, most likely as a further way for the Capitol to control its subjects.
But Peeta and Katniss escape the Capitol’s control (if briefly) on the roof, the wind providing them a safe escape from being constantly monitored. There, Katniss shares her story: Gale and her were on a hunt when two people, a boy and the girl who was waiting on them at dinner, ran into a clearing. A hovercraft appeared, shot a spear through the boy, and captured the girl in a net.
What haunted Katniss (and what she doesn’t tell Peeta) is that the girl saw Gale and her and called out for help. The two of them did nothing.
The guilt of her inactivity is a new angle (and possible foreshadowing) for the story ahead. She watched a boy die and she allowed this other girl to be captured. I don’t blame Katniss for not doing anything; I mean, what could she have done? But the memory adds a new twist to Katniss’s personality: her dedication towards showing mercy, towards altruism, towards acting out of the kindness of her heart. She’s been at the bottom of society her entire life and when she sees others who are too, she instinctively wants to help them.
Perhaps the girl doesn’t even remember me. But I know she does. You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope. I pull the covers up over my head as if this will protect me from the redheaded girl who can’t speak. But I can feel her eyes staring at me, piercing through walls and doors and bedding.
I wonder if she’ll enjoy watching me die.
Again, the foreshadowing isn’t that subtle, but it might also be because I’m consuming this a chapter at a time. But this girl will turn up again and she’ll play a big part in what happens to Katniss during the Games.