Catching fire chapter 1 summary

Catching fire chapter 1 summary DEFAULT

Catching Fire Summary & Study Guide

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is the second in the Hunger Games series. Catching Fire begins several months after the end of the Hunger Games, where Katniss pulled out a handful of poison berries, threatening suicide along with Peeta, the other tribute from District 12, and forced the Capitol to hold to their original deal of allowing two tributes to win the annual games—a fight to the death. Katniss now finds herself in a difficult situation, forced to choose between the two boys she loves in order to protect her family and friends from the wrath of the Capitol. Katniss plays by the rules, but soon discovers that even this is not good enough to appease the iron fist of the president. When Katniss learns that she will once again be forced to be a participant in the games, she decides it is time to play by her own rules. Catching Fire is an intense novel of courage and strength in the face of impossible odds.

Katniss returns home from hunting when she discovers the president himself has come to see her. The president tells Katniss that her act of defiance during the games has caused rebellions in some of the district. The president says that if Katniss wants her family and friends to survive the next few months, she will have to convince the districts that her act was one of love and not defiance. Katniss agrees, and as she and Peeta, the other winner of her games and her self-confessed lover, go on their Victory Tour, Katniss does all she can to promote the idea that she and Peeta are deeply in love, even allowing herself to become publicly engaged to him.

At the end of the Victory Tour, Katniss comes to the conclusion that she did not do enough to appease the president. Katniss begins to make plans to run away. Katniss begs Gale, her childhood friend and potential lover, into running with her. At first he agrees, but later backs down when he realizes that Katniss wants to bring Peeta along as well. Katniss changes her mind as well when Gale is whipped by the new Head Peacekeeper. Katniss realizes that running away will not change anything. Instead, they must fight, rebelling against the Capital.

For several weeks, Katniss falls into something of a depression as she watches the new Head Peacekeeper turn her district upside down, burning down the Hob and putting many people out of work, enforcing laws the district had forgotten, and abandoning people to starvation. One day, unable to take the emptiness of her days any longer, Katniss sneaks under the fence and escapes into the woods.

Katniss goes to an old lake her father once took her to. However, instead of finding it deserted as she normally would, Katniss runs into two women from District 8. These women tell Katniss they escaped from District 8 shortly after their clothing factory was destroyed out of retaliation for a rebellion plotted and carried out there. These women are on their way to District 13, a district thought to have been destroyed many years before. At first Katniss does not believe this, but as she thinks about it, she begins to think it might have merit. Katniss tries to talk to Haymitch about District 13 and her desire to rebel, but Haymitch forces her to realize that there are not enough people in District 12 to successfully stand up against the Peacekeepers and to take the chance that District 13 still exists.

As Katniss struggles with her desire to force change, she learns that she and Peeta will be forced to fight again in the Games because of a special game held once every twenty-five years called the Quarter Quell. Katniss, Peeta, and twenty-two other victors will have to fight it out in the arena once again. Katniss makes the choice to save Peeta this time, hoping that by ensuring his survival he will be able to rise up and be the voice of a rebellion. However, Katniss does not realizes that others are plotting to be sure she survives because her actions in the previous games have sparked rebellions throughout the world and her face has become the face of that rebellion. Katniss is rescued from the arena. However, Peeta is captured by the Capitol and District 12 is destroyed.

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Catching Fire Summary

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

A few months after their victory, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are about to embark on their Victory Tour. Katniss is not happy with all the changes in her life, her relationship with Gale Hawthorne has changed, as has her way of life.

President Snow visits Katniss and orders her to convince him and the country she is in love with Peeta or he will kill Gale. This order is given due to the unrest in the districts of Panem since her defiance, during the Games. She tells Haymitch about the threat and he explains the only way to keep everyone safe is for her and Peeta to marry.

Katniss and Peeta visit Rue and Thresh's district and make statements of support to the late tributes' families. The returned support of the crowd is met with executions by Peacekeepers.

Peeta at the end of the tour proposes to Katniss, but it is not enough to satisfy President Snow. Katniss finds out District 8 is in rebellion and in reaction asks Gale and Peeta if they will run away with her. They both say yes, but have their reservations.

Then a shocking event happens, when Gale is whipped for poaching and Katniss throws herself in front of him to stop the punishment. Katniss realizes instead of running away, she needs to stay and start a rebellion in District 12. But the new Head Peacekeeper has fortified District 12 and threatened the citizens, so she gives up the idea of rebellion.

One day she slips into the woods to visit her pond and she is met by a Peacekeeper, who shows her a cracker with the image of a mockingbird on it, similar to the watch the Head Gamesmaker showed her. The Peacekeeper is actually an escapee from District 8. The escapee and her companion are trying to reach the destroyed District 13, because they think people are living there.

Days later Katniss watches a television special which features her wedding dress photo shoot and reveals who will be participating in the Quarter Quell, which is held every twenty-five years. It is past victors who are to serve as tributes, meaning Katniss is going back into the arena. She and Haymitch determine that they will ensure Peeta's survival during the Quell.

On the train ride to the Capitol, Katniss and Peeta become close again. Peeta helps Katniss deal with her feelings of leaving her family and Gale behind without saying good-bye.

Peeta watches tapes of the victors they will be competing against. Katniss wants to see the tape of Haymitch's victory. They find out he discovered a force field the Gamemakers used to keep the tributes in the arena. Haymitch used the power of the force field to help him win. Knowing Haymitch is cunning and also made the Gamemakers look like fools, allows Katniss to look upon him with new confidence.

At the Training Center Haymitch tells Katniss and Peeta, they need to convince everyone they are still in love and to make friends with the other competitors. He declares they need an alliance to survive the Games.

Katniss finds friends in the victors from District 3 and Mags from District 4, but she and Peeta decide to not to form an alliance with anyone.

During the televised interviews two things happen; Katniss' dress turns from a wedding dress into a dress resembling a mockingjay and Peeta lies, telling the audience he and Katniss are married and expecting a child.

The Games are held in an arena which has land strips separated by water. When Katniss and Finnick Odair, from District 4, reach the Cornucopia, he shows her a bangle signaling he is on her side. Together they, Peeta, and Mags, an old woman from District 4, form an alliance.

In the jungle, Katniss discovers a force field, but she is too late to warn Peeta, who is knocked unconscious by it.

Later, a poisonous fog envelops them causing blisters and damage to their nervous systems. They flee the area, but Finnick cannot carry both Peeta and Mags, so Mags sacrifices herself in the fog.

They camp out on the beach and are joined by Beetee, Wiress, and Johanna. Wiress is key to Katniss figuring out the arena is a large clock, with the attacks coming at specific times to specific sections.

While at the Cornucopia to test the clock theory, the group is attacked and Wiress is killed. The rest of the alliance suffers through various attacks orchestrated by the Gamemakers. It is during this time Katniss and Peeta realize Haymitch has lied to them, by telling each that they must sacrifice themselves to save the other.

Beetee comes up with a plan to eliminate two of the tributes. He has a wire which will electrify the beach and kill anyone on the beach. The plan works well, until the wire is cut while Katniss and Johanna are running it to the beach. Johanna attacks Katniss, which makes Katniss think everyone has turned on her and Peeta. As she tries to rescue Peeta, she realizes the true enemy is the Capitol. To rebel against the Capitol, she wraps Beetee's wire around an arrow and shoots it through a chink in the force field causing an explosion.

She is extracted by Haymitch, who tells her she is being taken to District 13. The alliance was a plan to save her, but, unfortunately, Peeta has been captured by the Capitol and District 12 has been destroyed. Haymitch explains she needed to be saved because she is the mockingjay, the lifeblood of the revolution.

Katniss and Peeta must endure being put into the arena again, but this time they have help. Haymitch and others have orchestrated a plan to save Katniss, because she is the symbol of the revolution. Katniss shows once again she is willing to do whatever it takes, to try to save those she loves from danger.

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Chapter 1

Katniss is alone in the woods, checking the snares she and her best friend, Gale, have set up. Though her family is now very wealthy and has plenty...

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Chapter 2

Katniss panics when she realizes President Snow has travelled all the way from the Capitol to District 12 and paid her a personal visit. Snow never...

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Chapter 3

After meeting with President Snow, Katniss concludes that she cannot fail in convincing Panem of her love for Peeta or all her loved ones will suff...

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Chapter 4

Haymitch and Katniss silently return to the train, where Haymitch tells Katniss she could do worse than Peeta. Unable to fall asleep, Katniss lays ...

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Chapter 5

Peeta and Katniss are shoved back inside the Justice Building by a group of Peacekeepers. Once they are back inside with Haymitch, Cinna, and Effie...

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Chapter 6

President Snow’s answer means everyone and everything Katniss knows will be destroyed; she knows she has failed. But instead of feeling miserable...

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Chapter 7

On the first Sunday after the Harvest Festival, Katniss leaves some clues at her and Gale’s hunting rendezvous spot so he can follow her to the l...

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Chapter 8

Katniss rushes forward to prevent the Peacekeeper from striking Gale again, but it is too late to stop him. Instead, she gets struck on the cheek b...

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Chapter 9

Katniss falls asleep holding Gale’s hand. Peeta wakes her early the next morning, and he watches over Gale while she goes to her bed to go back t...

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Chapter 10

Confused but still suspicious of the stranger, Katniss demands to know what the cracker’s mockingjay stamp means. A second person, a young girl w...

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Chapter 11

Katniss knows she must cross the electric fence and get back inside District 12, but burrowing under the fence is impossible because the ground is ...

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Chapter 12

Invigorated from seeing the mockingjay on the news, Katniss wants to find out more about District 13 or to help in the cause to bring down the Capi...

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Chapter 13

Katniss runs out of the house before anyone can talk to or stop her. She instinctively runs for the woods before she remembers the fence is now con...

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Chapter 14

Although Katniss is sad she couldn’t say goodbye to everyone, she knows she must let them go because she is not coming home this time. She must a...

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Chapter 15

The next day, Katniss’ prep team is very emotional as they get her ready for the opening ceremony. She is annoyed by their tears and sadness as s...

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Chapter 16

The servants in the Capitol are special prisoners who have been tortured and had their tongues cut out so they can’t speak anymore. They are call...

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Chapter 17

Katniss leaves the training center and joins the others for dinner, where they ask Peeta and her about their private sessions. Peeta used the dyes ...

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Chapter 18

As Katniss wraps up her interview, she worries what Cinna’s costume change means for him, and if he’s in danger now. She doesn’t have much ti...

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Chapter 19

Katniss struggles to think straight and is unnerved by Cinna’s arrest. She wants to give up, but she knows Cinna and the rebels’ efforts cannot...

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Chapter 20

Katniss screams and slaps Peeta in attempts to get him to wake up, but he isn’t responding. Finnick steps in and tries to help Peeta, though Katn...

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Chapter 21

The fog gives Katniss burning stabs of pain wherever it touches her skin. Unable to stand the agonizing pain, they sprint away as fast as possible....

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Chapter 22

The monkeys retreat into the jungle, leaving Peeta, Katniss, and Finnick alone with the dying tribute from District 6. The monkey’s fangs have pu...

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Chapter 23

Katniss wakes everyone up and explains the clock theory to them. Wiress seems relieved that someone finally understands what she has been trying to...

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Chapter 24

Katniss tears through the jungle, searching for Prim. She can’t see her, only hear her. Finally, she realizes the noise is coming from a jabberja...

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Chapter 25

When Katniss wakes up that morning, she feels very happy, and she knows that feeling is connected to Peeta. She acknowledges that, given her curren...

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Chapter 26

After dinner, Beetee and Finnick wrap the wire around the tree. Katniss and Johanna are to travel back down through the jungle and to the water, un...

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Chapter 27

Katniss is unable to move and can only watch as the earth seems to explode. She wonders if the Gamemakers and Snow will let any of the remaining tr...

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Catching Fire Chapter 1

Catching Fire Chapters 1 - 3 Summary

It has been a few months since Katniss Everdeen won the Hunger Games. Her family is living at Victory Village, in a home provided for them by the government. Katniss is unhappy because her life is different, even though she no longer must worry about life's basic necessities, her relationship with Gale Hawthorne has changed.

The supposed romance between herself and Peeta Mellark has changed her friendship with Gale. He knows she is not in love with Peeta, but it is hard for him to forget the way Peeta and Katniss acted towards each other during the Games. Because of her supposed love for Peeta, those in charge of the Games decided to make Gale Katniss' cousin, because it wouldn't be right for her to have a close relationship with another young man.

Katniss and Peeta are leaving this day for their Victory Tour. Katniss is dreading the tour, because she knows she will have to act as if she is in love with Peeta. She is also not happy about seeing the families of the tributes she killed during the Games. She realizes she must participate in the tour, because it is part of the price of winning, but she doesn't look forward to it.

She is still hunting, but now she hunts for Gale's family. Gale works in the mines, therefore he doesn't have time to hunt, so he begrudgingly accepts the meat she brings to his family.

After visiting the Hob, where goods are sold illegally, Katniss wakes up a drunken Haymitch, so he can ready himself for the cameras which will document the start of the tour. She then returns to her new home, only to find President Snow is there waiting to speak to her.

President Snow is there to warn Katniss. She doesn't know her defiance of the Gamemakers caused people in other districts to think they also can rebel against the Capitol. In some of the districts the threat of uprisings is becoming a very real concern for President Snow.

President Snow is there to make sure she acts as if she is in love with Peeta, to convince the residents of the other districts she acted purely out of love and not rebellion. He tells her he can't kill her, because it would cause too much bad publicity, but he can kill Gale.

He knows about her and Gale meeting in the woods on Sundays. He also has knowledge of them sharing a kiss. He tells her it is her responsibility to convince not only her fellow countrymen she is in love with Peeta, but she must convince him. He is aware of the cool relationship between the two and wants it rekindled for the Victory Tour. He tells her if there is a rebellion in the other districts, then the entire system of districts will collapse. His snake like appearance and manner chills Katniss to the bone, she agrees to do whatever he wants her to do to save her friend and her family.

After President Snow leaves, Katniss lies to her mother by telling her the President visits every victor before they start their tour, to wish them well. Her mother happily believes the lie.

Katniss tries to figure out who she can tell about the President's warning and threat. She finally realizes the only person she can confide in is Haymitch, because as her mentor during the Games it was his duty to keep her alive. She hopes he is willing to keep the job of protector.

In the meantime, her style team arrives at the house to prepare her for the cameras. They do her nails, hair, and make-up to make sure she resembles the girl who won the Hunger Games. Katniss has let herself go back to the girl who lives in the Seam, so they have their work cut out for them.

As they talk to her about the news coming from the Capitol, she is reminded this year is a Quarter Quell. This takes place every twenty-five years to mark the anniversary of the defeat of the districts. This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Hunger Games, so there is extra celebrations and the Capitol adds a new element to the Games. One year, the year Haymitch won the Games, the Capitol demanded twice the number of tributes be sent by each district. This time Peeta and Katniss will also be mentors along with Haymitch.

Cinna and Katniss have become closer friends because he has helped her with her talent requirement. Each victor is required to have a talent, so the press can interview them on the skill. Peeta's is painting, but Katniss has no talent, so Cinna decided hers would be clothes design. Cinna designs the clothes and Katniss takes the credit, it works for both of them.

On the train trip to the first stop of the Victory Tour, Katniss manages to tell Haymitch about her problem. He explains to her even if she convinces everyone she is in love with Peeta, it will not be enough. She will have to pretend she is in love with him for the rest of her life, even marrying him. She realizes he is right and her dream of having a life with Gale is gone forever. Marrying Peeta is the only way to keep her family, friends, and herself alive.

Katniss Everdeen is home after winning the Hunger Games with Peeta Mellark, but life is not easy for her. She and her family live in a new house and have all they need for a comfortable existence, but sadly the Games have changed her relationship with Gale forever. Now she must pretend to be in love with Peeta or President Snow will have Gale killed. She is miserable.


Fire 1 summary chapter catching

LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Catching Fire, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon

Symbols and Interpretations

Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion Theme Icon

Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion

Surveillance and Manipulation Theme Icon

Surveillance and Manipulation

Pain, Pleasure, and Self-Control Theme Icon

Pain, Pleasure, and Self-Control

Women, Femininity, and Sexism Theme Icon

Women, Femininity, and Sexism

Katniss walks through a mysterious wood. She thinks about her recent victory. As a result of winning the annual “Hunger Games,” she now lives in Victor’s Village, and will soon march through a Victory Tour, surrounded by reporters. She thinks about the people who helped her win the games: her stylist Cinna, who designed her outfits, and her escort, Effie Trinket. Katniss wants to forget the Hunger Games altogether, but the Capitol forces her—and everyone else—to remember them. In this way, it reminds the districts of the Capitol’s great power.

While Collins clearly expects readers to have read The Hunger Games—the prequel to Catching Fire—the opening pages of this book are also meant to be disorienting. Whether we read the last book or not, we’re confused about where Katniss is and what the oppressive government of the Capitol will do to her next. Indeed, the only “certain” thing in this opening section is the vast power of the Capitol.

Related Quotes with Explanations

Katniss is walking through the woods to hunt on behalf of her lifelong friend Gale Hawthorne, whose family isn’t rich enough to buy meat from town. Katniss and Gale used to go hunting together, but now Gale works in a coal mine, and Katniss hunts alone. Technically, hunting in the woods is illegal, though it is fairly easy to evade punishment. Now, Katniss only sees Gale on Sundays. While they’re still friends, Katniss and Gale feel a distance between each other because of the Hunger Games.

From this section onward, Collins emphasizes many class and economic differences. Gale, whose family is poorer than most in his already poor district, has to break the law just to survive. At this point in the novel, it’s fairly easy for characters to break the rules of their world—Katniss and Gale can still hunt, even though it’s technically illegal.

Katniss proceeds with her hunting, using traps to catch a large number of rabbits and other small animals. She walks back to her community, District 12. Katniss’s family—her mother and her sister, Prim—are happy to live in Victor’s Village, but Katniss herself prefers her childhood home in District 12.

Collins shows Katniss to be an enormously resourceful young woman. While “hunter” is a stereotypically male profession, Katniss does a man’s job—both in the abstract sense of hunting and in the specific sense of doing Gale’s work for him.

Katniss walks to her house. There, she changes out of her hunting clothes and notices her bow and arrow—the weapons that helped her win the Hunger Games—hanging on the wall. She thinks that she is famous and rich because she won, but also hated in the Capitol for the way she won.

Collins doesn’t have time for a detailed recap of the last novel, but she establishes the basic takeaway of the book: Katniss won the Games but alienated the Capitol in the process. Clearly, this will be the principle conflict of the novel.

Katniss leaves her house and walks through the streets of District 12, carrying some of her catches. She sees Hazelle, Gale’s mother. Katniss recalls that an explosion killed both Hazelle’s husband and Katniss’s father years ago. After Hazelle lost her husband, Gale became the primary supporter of his family, which consists of his mother, his two brothers, Rory and Vick, and his baby sister, Posy. Katniss gives Hazelle the animals she caught that morning. Hazelle smiles and mentions that Gale looks forward to seeing Katniss every Sunday. Katniss blushes.

Unlike the protagonists of many other novels about children and young adults, Katniss and Gale are given real adult responsibilities, like providing for their families by working and hunting. This early “adulthood” comes from family tragedy—Gale is forced to be the “father” in his family precisely because he doesn’t have a father.

After leaving Hazelle’s house, Katniss walks to Hob, a market area where Katniss usually sells her catches. Katniss regards the Hob as a shady, crime-ridden area, but she also knows that it was a resident of the Hob, Greasy Sae, who raised funds to “sponsor” Katniss and Peeta during the Games. During the Games, Districts are allowed to pay for gifts for their competitors. Today, Katniss doesn’t have any catches left to sell, but she buys liquor, bread, coffee, and other foodstuffs. The liquor is for Haymitch, the man who mentored Katniss and Peeta, the two co-winners of the Games. Their victory was the first time in history that two people won the Hunger Games instead of just one.

Collins takes this section as an opportunity to catch us up on the events of the previous novel, The Hunger Games. Peeta and Katniss’s victory was only possible because of the help of many people, including Haymitch, who is seemingly an old alcoholic. Katniss’s purchase for Haymitch is a gesture of gratitude for his help, rather than an approval of his alcoholism. In this way, Collins reinforces the point that Katniss is, in many ways, more mature and grown-up than the adults in her world.

Katniss walks to Greasy Sae’s stall in the Hob, where she crosses paths with a Peacekeeper named Darius. Darius greets Katniss happily, and asks her when she’s leaving District 12 for her tour. Katniss explains that she’s leaving by train at noon. Greasy Sae asks Katniss about Gale, Katniss’s “cousin.” This reminds Katniss of the strange lie that reporters have circulated about Gale. Because reporters wanted to ”play up” Katniss’s romance with Peeta during the Games, they couldn’t have Gale, who’s very handsome, distracting from the story. Thus, they pretended that Gale was Katniss’s cousin. Katniss notes ruefully that even people in District 12 seem to have forgotten that Gale and Katniss aren’t, in fact, related at all.

At the beginning of the novel, there’s more leeway in the laws of the land. This is aptly symbolized by Darius, a “Peacekeeper”—in other words, a soldier and police officer from the Capitol—who is nonetheless friendly and warm with Katniss. Collins also reminds us of the strict censorship of the press in the world of Panem: anything that doesn’t support the approved “story” is twisted or censored. Because Gale’s existence complicates the media’s love story, he’s changed from Katniss’s friend into her cousin. The irony is that, from Collins’s perspective, Gale’s existence actually makes Katniss’s “love story” more interesting, as we’re meant to wonder whom Katniss will end up with: Peeta or Gale.

Katniss leaves the Hob and walks to Victor’s Village, a small community near District 12 where the winners of the Games, and those close to them, are allowed to stay. Katniss has a huge house in the Village, which she shares with her mother and sister. Haymitch and Peeta have similarly massive houses. Katniss walks into Haymitch’s house, which is luxurious but filthy, since Haymitch is lazy and always drunk. She sees Haymitch sleeping on the floor, and irritably yells at him to wake up. Haymitch wakes up, and Katniss reminds him that he’d asked her to wake him before the reporters arrive in Victor’s Village.

We begin to get a sense of the adults in Katniss’s life. Some, like her mother, are mostly remarkable because they accept Katniss’s generosity without question. Others, like Haymitch, seem remarkable only insofar as they’re immature—drunk, lazy, and forgetful. It’s like Katniss is the parent, waking Haymitch up for his big day—not the other way around.

As Katniss and Haymitch bicker, Peeta walks into the room. He has been baking bread in Haymitch’s house—Katniss notes that this is his “job” now, just as it’s her job to hunt. Peeta is stiff and awkward around Katniss, and Katniss behaves the same way around him. They have been awkward since they won the Games together, but they both recognize that the reporters and spectators of the Games want them to be in love. Haymitch calls Peeta and Katniss “lovebirds,” and tells them to get ready for the tour.

Collins paints a strange picture of a “family” in this scene. Katniss, the active, athletic hunter, is the “father-figure,” while Peeta, the cook, is the “mother,” and Haymitch is the lazy, drowsy child. This goes to show that all the usual stereotypes about people—how they should behave based on their age and their gender—hold no currency with Collins.

Katniss leaves Haymitch’s house and walks to her own. There, her mother is waiting for her. She tells Katniss that a messenger is waiting to talk to her, and Katniss notices that she looks frightened. Katniss, who knows better than to disobey anyone working for the Capitol, follows the messenger into a room of her house. There, she finds President Snow, the leader of the Capitol.

The first chapter, like most of the others in the novel, ends with a “cliff-hanger,” meant to build suspense and leave us wanting to know what happens next. We’ve been given hints of the enormous, ominous power of the government already, so it’s doubly shocking to see the Capitol’s leader appear in the novel so soon.

Catching Fire Audiobook- Chapter 1

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Catching Fire picks up a few months after Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark were declared the victors of the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Now 17, Katniss is adjusting to her new life of plenty after spending her entire childhood in poverty and hunger. Despite her family's lush new house in Victor's Village and her newfound wealth, Katniss still chooses to hunt in order to feed her friends. Gale Hawthorne, her former hunting partner and best friend, now works in the coal mines, so Katniss goes out alone. However, she gives whatever she kills to Gale's family - his mother Hazelle, the resourceful laundress of District 12, and his brothers Rory and Vick and baby sister Posy.

Gale refuses Katniss's insistence he take money, but he begrudgingly accepts the meat she brings. Meanwhile, Hazelle is grateful for Katniss' help, as her husband was killed years ago in the same mine explosion that killed Katniss's father. One afternoon, after delivering the food to Gale's house, Katniss continues to the Hob, District 12's black market, where she traded for years. Moneyed now, she makes purchases rather than trades. She buys a few bottles of white liquor for Haymitch Abernathy, her mentor in the Hunger Games and now her neighbor in Victor's Village. Despite his surly drunkenness, Katniss feels obliged to help Haymitch because he helped to keep her and Peeta alive in the Games.

Cray, the Head Peacekeeper (law enforcer) of District 12, jokes with Katniss about her liquor purchase. She shares soup with another friendly Peacekeeper, Darius, at Greasy Sae's stall. Although they are the Capitol's representatives in District 12, Cray and Darius are lenient, partaking in the same harmless illegal activities as the District 12 citizens. Greasy Sae teases Katniss about her "cousin" Gale - a lie District 12 maintains to keep him safe. The illusion of romance between Katniss and Peeta meant they both got to return home after the Games. The true nature of Katniss's relationship to Gale would be a threat to her public image and therefore, her safety. However, after everything that has happened, Katniss is not even sure what that relationship is.

Katniss goes to Haymitch's unkempt house and wakes him out of a drunken stupor. He sleeps with a knife in his hand and Katniss has to jump out of the way to avoid being slashed. This is the day the Victory Tour begins. Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch, all Hunger Games victors, will be whisked to each District for a celebration before a final banquet in the Capitol. Peeta arrives at Haymitch's house to help get him camera-ready. He and Katniss are formal with one another; Peeta is clearly still hurt from learning that Katniss's affections for him were mere performance.

Katniss goes home to get ready herself and is greeted by her worried mother at the door. President Snow is waiting for Katniss in the study. Katniss understands immediately that she is in some kind of trouble. Snow, cold and firm, brings up the moment at the end of the Games when Katniss pulled out a bag of poisonous berries and threatened to kill herself rather than fight to the death with Peeta. This act, which the Capitol views as rebellion, forced the Gamemakers to choose between a double suicide and no victor, or allowing there to be two victors. The President tells Katniss that he wishes Seneca Crane, the Head Gamekeeper for the 74th Games, had blown her up on the spot instead of allowing her to live. Katniss infers from Snow's tone that Crane has been executed.

The citizens of the Capitol were convinced that the ploy with the berries was motivated by Katniss's feelings for Peeta, but the Districts viewed it as "an act of defiance, not an act of love" (21). President Snow warns Katniss that uprisings may spring up from this general feeling of unrest, which could, in turn, start a revolution. Many people would die, and the conditions faced by those who lived would be horrendous. The entire infrastructure of Panem would collapse. Without thinking, Katniss responds "'It must be very fragile, if a handful of berries can bring it down'" (22).

After Katniss's mother serves tea, Snow continues his tirade against Katniss: "the girl who was on fire...[has] provided a spark that, left unattended, may grow to an inferno that destroys Panem" (23). Katniss wonders why Snow doesn't just kill her, either publicly or by an engineered accident. However, Snow knows that Katniss' death would only stoke the fires of insurrection. He instructs her to convince the people of Panem that the act with the berries was indeed an act of love, and nothing more. If not, great harm will come to her loved ones, including Gale.

Katniss remembers the few weeks after her return to District 12 as a victor. Her favorite memory is Parcel Day, a monthly delivery of food packages to be shared by all of District 12 for a year after a Games victory. After the obligatory celebrations and constant attention, Katniss was finally able to meet Gale alone in the woods. After a day of hunting and trapping, Gale surprised her with a passionate kiss before disappearing. When they met the following week, Gale mentioned nothing of the kiss. Though she also pretends it never happened, Katniss is still not sure how she feels about it.

Snow tells Kantiss she must do better than convincing the Capitol of her love for Peeta - she must convince him, and he knows about her kiss with Gale. Katniss keeps the subject of her meeting with Snow a secret from her mother so as not to worry her or Prim. She realizes she also can't tell Gale, Peeta, or even Cinna, lest she draws them into her trouble. She deduces that the only person she can confide in is Haymitch.

Octavia, Venia, and Flavius, Katniss's stylist prep team, arrive from the Capitol and immediately begin fussing over her. They remind Katniss that during the upcoming Quarter Quell, a special version of the Games that occurs every 25 years, Katniss will be serving as a mentor for the first time. Each Quarter Quell has different rules that were determined before the very first Hunger Games. For the 50th Games, the second Quarter Quell, each District had to send two male and two female tributes instead of one. Haymitch was the victor.

When she is ready, Katniss finds Cinna downstairs and they embrace. She has kept up with him by telephone since the Games. He remains one of her true friends. Every victor must have a talent to display during the Victory Tour, but Katniss was unable to think of one - other than hunting, which is illegal. She finally settled on fashion design with the understanding that Cinna would do all of the work. Effie Trinket arrives to keep them on schedule and they film demonstrations of Katniss's "talent."

Prim has dressed up for the event and even though she has matured since the Games, Katniss can't help but be reminded of her ally Rue, the tribute from District 11 she watched die. Katniss knows she has to keep up appearances in order to prevent more of her loved ones' deaths. So, she puts on her game face as Effie leads the sisters out to find Peeta. Katniss jumps into Peeta's arms on camera. Though he is almost knocked off balance because of his artificial leg, Peeta is able to maintain the performance. They kiss, and Katniss knows that Peeta is still looking after her.

Haymitch, Katniss, Peeta and their teams bid District 12 goodbye and settle into their berths on the train. Katniss seeks out Haymitch and intimates that she needs to talk to him. They go outside, away from any surveillance the President may have in place. She tells Haymitch about her conversation with Snow. He tells her the only way to avoid harm coming to her family is to carry out the charade of loving Peeta beyond the Victory Tour. At that moment, Katniss realizes that she must marry Peeta.


A year older than in the first book, Katniss is still the same uncertain teenager facing seemingly insurmountable problems. Many themes present in The Hunger Games are explored or amplified in Catching Fire. Coming-of-age, class division, violence, spectacle and the media all play important parts in the story of Katniss Everdeen and her country, Panem. Catching Fire is written in first-person, continuing Katniss' narration of the world around her and her direct experiences. In the beginning of the novel, she maintains her stoicism under pressure and continues to be wary of authority. The events in Catching Fire chart the maturation of Katniss as she evolves from a protector of close family and friends into a symbol of hope for a nation.

Despite her trademark brusqueness, Katniss's life has changed significantly since winning the Hunger Games. Her family now lives a life of luxury in Victors' Village and her District receives packages of food from the Capitol, both prizes that are awarded annually to the winner. This helps to amplify the theme of division between classes that permeated The Hunger Games. Katniss is still keenly aware of the less fortunate around her; she continues to hunt for her friends and is more than willing to share the spoils of her victory. Life in District 12 is still mired in poverty and peril: Gale Hawthorne, Katniss’s closest friend before the Games, is now a coal miner, the profession that killed both his and Katniss's fathers. Trading for goods and illegally purveyed food continues on as usual in the Hob, the black market; and Gale’s mother Hazelle is one of the many citizens of District 12 that are permanently on the bubble of being able to provide for their children. As the story continues, the division between the poor and the rich in the Capitol grows wider and the sparks of rebellion begin to catch fire.

Nevertheless, Katniss seems to miss her life of struggle. When she is back in her old house, she laments that the situation changed so rapidly around her - even though her life was once marked by poverty and hunger, she knew who she was. Being poor made Katniss learn how to rely on her wits to survive, which has become an inextricable part of her character. However, this yearning for her old life reflects the desire to return to a simpler time – before she was aware of how complicated life is beyond the Seam. Though she had been long inured to brutality and death, Katniss was relatively innocent about the ways of the world. Her only concern was how to eke out a living, so to her, it was futile to think about the possibility of changing the world. Now that she has had exposure to the excesses and machinations of the Capitol, she can no longer close her eyes to the injustice around her. But she is still a teenager and perhaps not yet able to cope with the complexities of the adult world – despite having killed other people during the Games, when it was necessary. Katniss is experiencing a rather extreme version of growing pains and it is natural to want to return to a time that she completely understood, a time when she was not yet an enemy of the Capitol.

Notably, Katniss's political awakening is a throughline of Catching Fire, beginning in the first Chapter with President Snow's visit. The subject of their meeting is Katniss’s act at the end of the Hunger Games. Rather than killing Peeta or vice versa, Katniss suggested they both eat poisonous berries. This forced Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker, to choose between the prospect of no winner or two winners. Crane opted for the latter, so both Katniss and Peeta survived. The Capitol spun this outcome as the culmination of a romance between the two, but there are lasting political implications. Snow believes this was an act of rebellion, one that has stoked feelings of unrest in the already tenuous situation in the Districts. Katniss, however, does not know what to think. Though it was clearly an act of defiance, she has always operated in survival mode. She was not thinking of love (Peeta and Katniss manufactured their romance to play on the sympathies of wealthy Capitol citizens who could sponsor them) nor was she thinking of starting a revolution. She was indeed upset with the system that forced her to kill other children and bear witness to the deaths of allies and friends, including 12-year-old Rue. At this point, Katniss is not ready to take on the mantle of symbol of the rebellion. Snow, however, pushes her into this role by threatening her family. His insistence that she play up the romance angle for the cameras – or else Prim, her mother, Gale and others shall face the consequences – ultimately stokes Katniss's desire to fight back. This will be examined fully in later chapters.

The frank conversation between Katniss and President Snow reveals a few of the many tactics used by the Capitol to keep the Districts in line, of which surveillance and manipulation of the media are the most prevalent. The romance between Peeta and Katniss is one such manipulation, but the Capitol’s exploitation of the media is much more nefarious. This will be explored in further chapters. Here, Collins shows her readers a sense of the Capitol's reach. President Snow knows about a private kiss between Gale and Katniss. The idea that the government can be watching your every move is a common motif of dystopian novels as exemplified by Big Brother in George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four. This idea has gained contemporary significance in the aftermath of 9/11, as video-taped surveillance became increasingly prevalent throughout the United States. Katniss learns that, as in the arena, no place is safe from the prying eyes of the Capitol. This information shades her interaction with her allies and enemies throughout the novel and helps to explain the amount of subterfuge and secrecy that the characters must enact in order to stay alive.

Snow exposes the lengths to which he is willing to go during his meeting with Katniss. He heavily implies that Seneca Crane was murdered for his choice at the end of the Games. Katniss wonders why she isn’t just killed herself, a flippant remark that illustrates just how ingrained execution and assassination are to the political system in Panem. Catching Fire significantly ups the stakes established in The Hunger Games. Death is as real possibility outside the arena as it is during the competition.

These chapters also set up the nature of authority in District 12, which is significantly more lapsed than in the Capitol. The Peacekeepers, Darius and Cray, joke around with Katniss and the traders of the Hob. They not only excuse illegal behavior, but partake in it themselves. The Peacekeepers' prevailing policy is to look the other way, and letting slide harmless activities that The Capitol could construe as corruption. The Peacekeepers are themselves a part of District 12. This touches upon a motif of apathy. After 75 years of oppression, the Districts have played their part, manufacturing goods for the Capitol while sending in their children to die in the Hunger Games arena every year. The Capitol uses distractions like the spectacle of the Games and manipulation of the media to gloss over the rampant injustice. Rebellion ultimately takes hold in the districts because of the increased abuses inflicted by the Capitol and their lack of control over the story. The status quo in District 12 gets upended as Snow’s forces crackdown on even the most minor infractions and Katniss’s act in the Games proves that defiance is possible.

Finally, Katniss’s horror at having to marry Peeta raises one more element of life in Panem – personal freedom – and a window into Katniss’s inner life. Though citizens of the districts have no control over where they live or what they will do for a living, they are free to marry whomever they wish. That President Snow would insist that Katniss marry Peeta and, in all likelihood, have children who could be reaped in the future, is the grossest affront for Katniss. Not that romantic love ever seemed to be important to Katniss - though she is the object of affection for both Peeta and Gale. Like the interest in fashion that Cinna manufactures for her, Katniss has a hard time engaging in anything she deems inessential; if it won’t contribute to her survival, she’s not interested. In fact, for Katniss, love can be hazardous. Her love of Prim led her to volunteer for the Hunger Games. She knows that loving someone will mean sacrificing everything in order to keep him or her safe. At this point, love is too costly for Katniss to entertain.

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Strength, control, a clear, verified plan. Unexpectedly for herself, she screamed, because her hole just like that immediately began to come to an unrealistic violent end. Grease spilled out of her and flowed down her legs. Legs cramped. And he looked, looked at it all.

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