In the sixteenth chapter of The Hunger Games, Katniss and Rue devise a plan to destroy the Careers’ food supply, separating from each other in the process. Oh, and ANOTHER CLIFFHANGER. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.
Rue has decided to trust me wholeheartedly. I know this because as soon as the anthem finishes she snuggles up against me and falls asleep.
CUTEST MOMENT IN THE HUNGER GAMES y/y/y/y. Sorry that I don’t have some sort of in-depth analysis of this at all. Brain has been blinded by cute.
I like Rue, but she stinks of death. I mean…it cannot last long. She has to die eventually and she already seems ripe to be killed by someone else in the Games. I don’t necessarily think Collins has foreshadowed it at any specific point, but the tragedy has to come back. This momentary pause can’t last too long, right?
Traditionally, the Career tributes’ strategy is to get hold of all the food early on and work from there. The years when they have not protected it well—one year a pack of hideous reptiles destroyed it, another a Gamemakers’ flood washed it away—those are usually the years that tributes from other districts have won. That the Careers have been better fed growing up is actually do their disadvantage, because they don’t know how to be hungry. Not the way Rue and I do.
I’m sort of anxious to see what the Careers do once they’re the only ones who remain alongside Katniss. Will they turn on each other before they turn on her? On top of this, I never considered how poverty actually plays to an advantage in the Games. Huh. Learn something new every day.
I realize, for the first time, how very lonely I’ve been in the arena. How comforting the presence of another human being can be. I give in to my drowsiness, resolving that tomorrow the tables will turn. Tomorrow, it’s the Careers who will have to watch their backs.
Kind of a cheesy line, sure, but the sentiment is relieving. So much of the Games have been about Katniss running and hiding, and I’m glad to finally see her change. And have Rue at her side as well!
They are woken in the morning by the sound of the cannon; someone has died. They recount who’s left, unable to figure out who the tenth person is. Not surprisingly, Katniss wonders if Peeta was the one to die. (He wasn’t and I’m sticking to my theory that he’s not going to die until the very end.) The fact that Collins includes this means that tenth tribute is going to be important sooner or later. OBVIOUS COLLINS IS OBVIOUS.
Rue and Katniss begin the discussion to determine what to do to ruin the food supply. We learn (from Rue, who turns out to be pretty observant) that the supply is about 30 yards from the lake and is being watched over by the small boy from District 3. It doesn’t make sense and, to be completely honest, I didn’t figure out why he was there until the reveal at the end of the chapter. (We’ll get there.)
Katniss is concerned that there is a very specific reason why the supplies are out in the open and guarded by the weakest in the group. The obvious answer is that it’s a trap, so they decide to set one of their own. They set up two potential campfires in the woods, which Rue will set, and then set a third, hoping to distract the Careers away from the supplies, allowing Katniss to attempt to destroy everything. Rue teaches Katniss her mockingjay song, which she learned in her district, as a way to signal that she’s all right. We don’t get to read about what Katniss’s plan is at the moment, though; they split up the remaining supplies and Rue gives Katniss a warm, loving hug. Then they’re gone.
Ugh, it’s going to happen, isn’t it? I really don’t want Rue to die, but this seems like the perfect time for it to happen. BOOOOOOOOO.
After they separate, Katniss heads to a vantage point that Rue recommended and I will talk about that, but I need to point out this line right now. Some context: Katniss is doubting that anything she witnessed after getting stung by the tracker jackers ever happened and she says this:
But just the fact that he was sparkling leads me to doubt everything that happened.
There is a small part of me that is dearly hoping this is a reference to Twilight. A boy can dream, right?
Anyway, let’s get to the supply set up, shall we?
There are four tributes. The boy from District 1, Cato, and the girl from District 2, and a scrawny, ashen-skinned boy who must be from District 3. He made almost no impression on me at all during our time in the Capitol.
Yeah, I don’t even remember any details about him either. WHY IS HE WATCHING THE CARGO?
The Cornucopia sits in its original position, but its insides have been picked clean. Most of the supplies, held in crates, burlap sacks, and plastic bins, are piled neatly in a pyramid in what seems to be a questionable distance from the camp. Others are sprinkled around the perimeter of the pyramid, almost mimicking the layout of supplies around the Cornucopia at the onset of the Games. A canopy of netting that, aside from discouraging birds, seems to be useless shelters the pyramid itself.
I don’t understand it. It’s not that Collins is a bad writer, but I am bad at like…mechanical, visual shit. Even if I saw it before my eyes, I’d still be stumped. Basically, y’all would have already read about my tragic, clumsy death many pages ago.
My guess is the pyramid is booby-trapped in some manner. I think of concealed pits, descending nets, a thread that when broken sends a poisonous dart into your heart. Really, the possibilities are endless.
I could maybe—maybe—think of like six things. My imagination is not booby-trap-ready.
Cato spots the fire that Rue has set, and, surprisingly, all four tributes leave the supplies, but not without an argument about it.
“He’s coming. We need him in the woods, and his job’s done here anyway. No one can touch those supplies,” says Cato.
“What about Lover Boy?” says the boy from District 1.
“I keep telling you, forget about him. I know where I cut him. It’s a miracle he hasn’t bled to death yet. At any rate, he’s in no shape to raid us,” says Cato.
Oh, what the fuck. Really? I mean, he’s not going to die now, but CHRIST. But now I’m even more curious: Why can all four of them leave the supplies? What sort of booby trap did they set?
Katniss can’t figure it out, but she ends up not needing to:
Several hundred yards to my right, I see someone emerge from the woods. For a second, I think it’s Rue, but then I recognize Foxface—she’s the one we couldn’t remember this morning—creeping out onto the plain. When she decides it’s safe, she runs for the pyramid, with quick, small steps. Just before she reaches the circle supplies that have been littered around the pyramid, she stops, searches the ground, and carefully places her feet on a spot. Then she begins to approach the pyramid with strange little hops, sometimes landing on one foot, teetering slightly, sometimes risking a few steps. At one point, she launches up in the air, over a small barrel and lands poised on her tiptoes. But she overshot slightly, and her momentum throws her forward. I hear her give a sharp squeal as her hands hit the ground, but nothing happens. In a moment, she’s regained her feet and continues until she has reached the bulk of supplies.
WHAT THE BLOODY HELL. So, my first thought is that she’s jumping over small trip wires that are rigged to…I don’t know? I mean, do the tributes get those sort of weapons in the game? I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING AT ALL. When Foxface only grabs a small amount of supplies (so as not to raise suspicion) and tiptoes away, it finally occurs to her what sort of trap it is.
The boy from District 3 is from the land of factories where they make—yep—explosives. Get this shit:
I slip out of the bushes and cross to one of the round metal plates that lifted the tributes into the arena. The ground around it has been dug up and patted back down. The land mines were disabled after the sixty seconds we stood on the plates, but the boy from District 3 must have managed to reactivate them. I’ve never seen anyone in the Games do that. I bet it came as a shock even to the Gamemakers.
THIS IS GENIUS. I completely forgot about the landmines because…well, let’s be honest, when were they ever going to be used again.
So Katniss’s new focus is on setting off the mines; she hopes they’re close enough to cause a chain reaction as well. She thinks about sending a flaming arrow into the supplies, hoping to catching some oil, but without knowing for certain what’s there, it’s all essentially a big waste of time. Until she spots a burlap sack full of apples, which might have just enough weight to set off the pressure triggers. It only takes three arrows for her to drop them, but then:
For a moment, everything seems frozen in time. Then the apples spill to the ground and I’m blown backward into the air.
Guess what time it is? END OF CHAPTER TIME. This is absurd. Why do I willingly choose to do this.