The Hunger Games

by: Suzanne Collins

Chapters 25–27

Summary Chapters 25–27

The contrast between Katniss and the pristine conditions she encounters in the hovercraft after being taken from the arena, and later back in the Training Center, highlight how brutal the Hunger Games have been on her. When Katniss is given the glass of orange juice after being dragged to a room in the hovercraft, she immediately notices the incongruity between the clean, crystal glass, filled with cold juice and a straw with a “frilly” collar, and her filthy, bloody hand. The cold orange juice, obtained so easily here, stands in stark contrast with Katniss’s experience of the past weeks, during which she has had to work for all her food and fight just to stay alive. In the arena she left moments earlier, orange juice would have been a luxury (it would also be considered a luxury in District 12). The frilly collar on the straw specifically suggests a particularly extravagant and indeed needless luxury. Katniss’s appearance, meanwhile, represents all the hardships she has endured during the Games. She is unwashed, bloody from the injuries she’s sustained, and as she notices in the Training Center, extremely thin from lack of food coupled with hard exertion. This same contrast persists as Katniss rehabilitates in the comfort of the Training Center, and throughout the section it essentially symbolizes the power of the Capitol, with its ability to reduce Katniss to her present condition or grant her luxuries however it chooses.

As the book draws to a close, Katniss still feels ambivalent about Peeta. While she cares for Peeta and doesn’t want to lose him, she doesn’t love him in the way that he loves her. Though she has developed a romantic interest in him, her feelings toward him have always been tentative, even after she realized that his feelings for her were genuine. Moreover, Katniss still feels torn between her interest in Peeta and her interest in Gale. She feels more comfortable with Gale than she does with anyone else, and as she returns home to District 12, she wonders whether her relationship with Gale could turn from friendship to romance. Finally, in the aftermath of the Hunger Games, given the horrible experiences she’s endured she’s not certain she can love anyone fully enough to marry and start a family with them. (Perhaps it’s a premature concern given that Katniss is just sixteen, but it’s a concern for her nonetheless). The dramatic tension in the book’s final line centers on Katniss’s ambivalence toward Peeta. Though she may not feel for him as he does for her, she acknowledges that she still fears the moment she’ll have to let him go.