Mockingjay.co.uk | The Hunger Games | Chapter Summary | Chapter 2
Katniss is stunned. Prim's was one slip of paper in thousands; she took tesserae for precisely this reason. Katniss sweeps Prim behind her and volunteers to take her place in the Hunger Games, to the shock and confusion of those in attendance. The mayor tells her to come forward whilst Gale holds on to a hysterical and protesting Prim.
An upbeat Effie asks Katniss for her name and then asks the crowd to give her a huge round of applause. To the everlasting credit of District 12 not one person claps. Instead, the silent crowd put their three middle fingers from their left hand on their lips and then out towards Katniss. It's a rare gesture that means thanks, admiration and goodbye to somebody you love.
Katniss is on the verge of crying but a drunk Haymitch staggers across the stage to congratulate her and declare that she has spunk. He then falls off the stage, knocking himself unconscious.
Effie announces that it's now time to pick a boy tribute. She reads the name off the paper - Peeta Mellark. Peeta is medium height, has a stocky build and has ashy blonde hair; his eyes show alarm. Neither of Peeta's two brothers volunteer to take his place.
While the mayor reads the Treaty of Treason, Katniss recalls an interaction she had with Peeta years ago. Three months after her father died in the mine accident, her mother was deep in mourning and unable to work. The family money had run out and they we all slowly starving to death. To avoid being taken into a community home, Katniss took it upon herself to provide for the family. She was too young to apply for teserrae, so she tried selling old baby clothes for food - but nobody wanted them. Katniss was so desperate she looked in the trash cans oustide a bakers, for something to eat. The baker's wife screamed at Kantniss to leave and as she begins to back away, Katniss spots a boy from school. She did't know his name but he was in her year. Katniss heard a clatter in the bakery, followed by a screaming woman and the sound of a blow. The boy emerged from the bakers with two loaves of burnt bread with him. His mother explained that they were useless now and he should feed them to the pigs. The boy had a red welt across his face, where he had been hit. He tore off tiny chunks and put them in the pig trough. When his mother was distracted he gave Katniss the bread and went back inside. Katniss put the hot loaves under her shirt and walked home, where she fed her family.
The following morning Katniss wonders if the boy burnt the bread on purpose. At school she catches him staring at her and when she looks away she sees a dandelion. She thinks about her father and what he taught her in the woods. Katniss realised what she needed to do to survive. Katniss could not forget this boy, Peeta, the bread that gave her hope and the dandelion that reminded her she was not doomed. This makes Katniss feel like she owes him, but how can she thank him now that she is expexted to kill him.
When the mayor finishes reading, Peeta and Katniss shake hands. She thinks about the odds of someone else killing Peeta first so she doesn't have to, but the odds haven't been in her favour lately.
"The raw hunk of meat that used to be my enemy makes a sound, and I know where the mouth is. And I think the word he's trying to say is 'please'. Pity, not vengeance sends my arrow flying into his skull"