Kind people have a way of working their way inside me and rooting there.

When Katniss shares this sentiment, she’s thinking of how Peeta took a beating in order to give her the bread that saved her family’s life. Katniss sees Peeta’s kindness as dangerous because she knows how hurtful it can be to become emotionally attached to people, especially those who are headed to fight in the Games. However, Katniss’s soft spot for kindness is ultimately what gives her life purpose. Prim and Peeta, arguably the two people in her life who are most genuinely good, give her a reason to survive – she wants to protect their goodness, even at risk to her own life.

To hate the boy from District 1, who also appears so vulnerable in death, seems inadequate. It’s the Capitol I hate, for doing this to all of us.

Katniss begins to exhibit unambiguously rebellious thinking right after Rue’s death, as she observes the bodies of both Rue and her killer, the District 1 tribute. Even though the boy murdered Rue, whom Katniss wanted so badly to protect, she understands at that moment that her real enemy is the Capitol. She thinks back on Gale’s political rantings, now realizing that she understands them on a deeper level. Rue’s death is the turning point between Katniss being a passive member of the system, just trying to survive, and being an active insurgent. Just after this quote, she completes her first act of rebellion by covering Rue’s body in flowers.

No one has held me like this in such a long time. Since my father died and I stopped trusting my mother, no one else’s arms have made me feel this safe.

Katniss had to take on the role of family leader and breadwinner at a tragically young age. Since the death of her father, she’s had very little to turn to for comfort, especially since her mother suffers from severe depression. Her love for Prim keeps her going, and her time with Gale gives her the space to feel some freedom and happiness, but neither of these relationships allow her to become the protected rather than the protector. Peeta shows Katniss that she can trust him, not just with her survival, but with her emotions. That she feels safe exposing her vulnerable side to Peeta in the midst of the Hunger Games is a testament to their bond, and to how much Katniss needed someone to show genuine care for her.