Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Quotes


Not only are we in the districts forced to remember the iron grip of the Capitol’s power each year, we are forced to celebrate it.  And this year, I am one of the stars of the show.  I will have to travel from district to district, to stand before the cheering crowds who secretly loathe me, to look down into the faces of the families whose children I have killed….  (4)

Al I was doing was trying to keep Peeta and myself alive.  Any act of rebellion was purely coincidental.  But when the Capitol decrees that only one tribute can live and you have the audacity to challenge it, I guess that’s a rebellion in itself.  My only defense was pretending that I was driven insane by a passionate love for Peeta.  (19)

President Snow smiles and I noticed his lisp fro the first time.  I’m expecting snake lips, which is to say none.  But his are overly full, the skin stretched too tight.  I have to wonder if his mouth has been altered to make him more appealing.  If so, it was a waste of time and money, because he’s not appealing at all.  (19)

President Snow to Katniss:  In several of [the districts]…people viewed your little trick with the berries as an act of defiance, not an act of love.  And if a girl from District Twelve of all places can defy the Capitol and walk away unharmed, what is to stop them from doing the same? …What is to prevent, say, an uprising?…  They’ll follow if the course of things doesn’t change.  And uprisings have been known to lead to revolution.  Whatever problems anyone may have with the Capitol, believe me when I say that if it released its grip on the districts for even a short time, the entire system would collapse. (21)

I’m taken aback by the directness and even the sincerity of this speech.  As if his primary concern is the welfare of the citizens of Panem, when nothing could be further form the truth.  I don’t know how I dare to say the next words, but I do.  “It must be very fragile, if a handful of berries can bring it down.” (22)

President Snow:  “Your stylist turned out to be prophetic in his wardrobe choice. Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire, you have provided a spark that, left unattended, may grow to an inferno that destroys Panem.” (23)

“Parcel Day…to know that once a month for a year they [District 12] would all receive another parcel.  That was one of the few times I actually felt good about winning the Games.” (25)

Regarding President Snow:  The smell of blood…it was on his breath. (38)

Since I’ve been home I’ve been trying hard to mend my relationship with my mother.  Asking her to do things for me instead of brushing aside any offer of help, as I did for years out of anger.  Letting her handle all the money I won.  Returning her hugs instead of tolerating them.  My time in the arena made me realize how I needed to stop punishing her for something she couldn’t help, specifically the crushing depression she fell into after my father’s death.  Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.  (31-32)

All three [prep team] are so readily respectful and nice to my mother that I feel bad about how I go around feeling so superior to them.  Who knows who I would be or what I would talk about if I’d been raised in the Capitol?  Maybe my biggest regret would be having feathered costumes at my birthday party, too.” (38)

I can feel the steadiness that Peeta brings to everything.  And I know I’m not alone.  As badly as I have hurt him, he won’t expose me in front of the cameras.  Won’t condemn me with a halfhearted kiss.  He’s still looking out for me.  Just as he did in the arena.  Somehow the thought makes me want to cry.”  (42)

I think of Haymitch, unmarried, no family, blotting out the world with drink.  He could have had his choice of any woman in the district.  And he chose solitude.  Not solitude – that sounds too peaceful.  More like solitary confinement.  Was it because, having been in the arena, he knew it was better than risking the alternative?  (46)

Do what?  Blow my lips up like President Snow’s?  Tattoo my breasts? Dye my skin magenta and implant gems in it?  Cut decorative patterns in my face?  Give me curved talons?  Or cat’s whiskers?  I saw all these things and more on the people in the Capitol.  Do they really have no idea how freakish they look to the rest of us?  (49)

I hear Haymitch’s voice.  “You could do a lot worse.”  At this moment, it’s impossible to imagine how I could do any better.  The gift… it’s perfect. (59)

I must say something.  I owe too much.  And even if I had pledged all my winnings to the families, it would not excuse my silence today.  (60)

The full impact of what I’ve done hits me.  It was not intentional—I only meant to express my thanks—but I have elicited something dangerous.  An act of dissent from the people of District 11. This is exactly the kind of thing I am supposed to be defusing! (62)

Well, I’ve learned one thing today.  This place is not a larger version of District 12.  Our fence is unguarded and rarely charged.  Our peacekeepers are unwelcome but less brutal.  Our hardships evoke more fatigue than fury.  Here in 11, they suffer more acutely and feel more desperation.  President Snow is right.  A spark could be enough to set them ablaze.  (67-68)

In that one slight motion, I see the end of hope, the beginning of the destruction of everything I hold dear in the world.  I can’t guess what form my punishment will take, how wide the net will be cast, but when it is finished, there will most likely be nothing left. So you would think that at this moment, I would be in utter despair.  Here’s what’s strange.  The main thin I feel is a sense of relief.  That I can give up this game.  That the question of whether I can succeed in this venture has been answered, even if that answer is a resounding no. That if desperate times call for desperate measures, then I am free to act as desperately as I wish.  …So instead of crumpling to the ground and weeping, I find myself standing up straighter and with more confidence than I have in weeks.  My smile, while somewhat insane, is not forced.  (75-76)

My appetite has returned with my desire to fight back. After weeks of feeling too worried to eat, I’m famished.  (77)

The Games were such a hit here, where the berries were only a symbol of a desperate girl trying to save her lover.  (78)

All I can think of is the emaciated bodies of the children on our kitchen table as my mother prescribes what the parents can’t give.  More food. Now that we’re rich, she’ll send some home with them.  But often in the old days, there was nothing to give and the child was past saving, anyway. And here in the Capitol they’re vomiting for the pleasure of filling their bellies again and again.  Not from some illness of body or mind, not from spoiled food.  It’s what everyone does at a party.  Expected.  Part of the fun.  (80)

“My nightmares are usually about losing you,” he says.  “I’m okay once I realize you’re here.”

Ugh.  Peeta makes comments like this in such an offhand way, and it’s like being hit in the gut.  He’s only answering my question honestly.  He’s not pressing me to reply in kind, to make any declaration of love.  But I still feel awful, as if I’ve been using him in some terrible way.  Have I?  I don’t know.  I only know that for the first time, I feel immoral about him being here in my bed.  Which is ironic since we’re officially engaged now.  (86)

“But Mockingjays were never a weapon,” said Madge. “They’re just songbirds.  Right?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” I said.  But it’s not true.  A mockingbird is just a songbird.  A mockingjay is a creature the Capitol never intended to exist.  They hadn’t counted on the highly controlled jabberjay having the brains to adapt to the wild, to pass on its genetic code, to thrive in a new form.  They hadn’t anticipated its will to live.”  (92)

You haven’t hurt people—you’ve given them an opportunity.  They just have to be brave enough to take it.  (99)

What about the other families, Katniss?  The ones who can’t run away?  Don’t you see?  It can’t be about just saving us anymore.  Not if the rebellion’s begun!  …You could do so much.  (100)

After Gale says he doesn’t want “anything made in the Capitol” and throws the gloves back at her:  I look down at the gloves.  Anything they made in the Capitol?  Was that directed at me?  Does he think I am now just another product of the Capitol and therefore something untouchable?  (101)

I’m filled with awe, as I always am, as I watch her transform from a woman who calls me to kill a spider to a woman immune to fear.  When a sick or dying person is brought to her… this is the only time I think my mother knows who she is.  (111)

What a pair we were—fatherless, frightened, but fiercely committed, too, to keeping our families alive.  Desperate, yet no longer alone after that day, because we’d found each other.  …Mutually counting on each other, watching each other’s backs, forcing each other to be brave.  (117)

I’m selfish.  I’m a coward.  I’m the kind of girl who, when she might actually be of use, would run to stay alive and leave those who couldn’t follow to suffer and die.  This is the girl Gale met in the woods today.

No wonder I won the Games.  No decent person ever does.

You saved Peeta, I think weakly.

But now I question even that.  I knew good and well that my life back in District 12 would be unlivable if I let that boy die.  (117)

The berries.  I realize the answer to who I am lies in that handful of poisonous fruit.  If I held them out to save Peeta because I knew I would be shunned if I came back without him, then I am despicable.  If I held them out because I loved him, I am still self-centered, although forgivable.  But if I held them out to defy the Capitol, I am someone of worth.  The trouble is, I don’t know exactly what was going on inside me at that moment.  (118)

Could it be the people in the districts are right?  That it was an act of rebellion, even if it was an unconscious one? Because, deep down, I must know it isn’t enough o keep myself, or my family, or my friends alive by running away.  Even if I could.  It wouldn’t fix anything.  It wouldn’t stop people from being hurt the way Gale was today.  (118)

Life in District 12 isn’t really so different from life in the arena.  At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead.  The hard thing is finding the courage to do it.  (118)

My choices are simple.  I can die like quarry in the woods or I can die here beside Gale.  “I’m not going anywhere.  I’m going to stay right here and cause all kinds of trouble.”  (119)

The Capitol has no end of creative ways to kill people.  I imagine these things and I’m terrified, but let’s face it: They’ve been lurking in the back of my brain, anyway.  I’ve been a tribute in the Games.  Been threatened  by the president.  Taken a lash across my face.  I’m already a target.

Now comes the harder part.  I have to face the fact that my family and friends might share this fate. Prim.  I need only to think of Prim and all my resolve disintegrates.  It’s my job to protect her.  … I can’t let the Capitol hurt Prim.

And then it hits me. They already have.  They have killed her father in those wretched mines.  They have sat by as she almost starved to death.  They have chosen her as a tribute, then made her watch her sister fight to the death in the Games.  She has been hurt far worse than I had at the age of twelve.  And even that pales in comparison with Rue’s life.

Prim…Rue…aren’t they the very reason that I have to try to fight?  Because what has been done to them is so wrong, so beyond justification, so evil that there is no choice?  (123)

This is the thing to remember when fear threatens to swallow me up.  What I am about to do, whatever any of us are forced to endure, it is for them.  (123)

Would the people of District 12 join in or lock their doors?  Yesterday the square emptied so quickly after Gale’s whipping.  But isn’t that because we all feel so impotent and have no idea what to do?  We need someone to direct us and reassure us this is possible.  And I don’t think I’m that person.  I may have been a catalyst for rebellion, but a leader should be someone with conviction, and I’m barely a convert myself.  Someone with unflinching courage, and I’m still working hard at even finding mine.  Someone with clear and persuasive words, and I’m so easily tongue-tied.  (124)

Of course, I love Gale.  But what kind of love does she mean?  What do I mean when I say I love Gale?  I don’t know.   (125)

“Oh, I’ve never had a whole [groosling] leg to myself before.”  The disbelief of the chronically hungry. (143)

Listening to Bonnie and Twill confirmed one thing:  President Snow has been playing me for a fool.  All the kisses and endearments in the world couldn’t have derailed the momentum building up in District 8.  Yes, my holding out the berries had been the spark, but I had no way to control the fire. He must have known that.  So why visit my home, why order me to persuade the crowd of my love for Peeta?  It was obviously  plot to distract me and keep me from doing anything else inflammatory in the districts.  And to entertain the people in the Capitol, of course.  (150)

I have to admit I didn’t see it coming.  I saw a multitude of other things. Being publicly humiliated, tortured,  and executed.  Fleeing through the wilderness, pursued by Peacekeepers and hovercraft.  Marriage to Peeta with our children forced into the arena.  But never that I myself would have to be a player in the Games again.  Why?  Because there’s no precedent for it.  Victors are out of the reaping for life.  That’s the deal if you win. Until now.  (175)

“On the seventh-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to he rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the Capitol, the male and female tributes will be repeated from their existing pool of victors.”

                Yes, victors are our strongest. They’re the ones who survived the arena and slipped the noose of poverty that strangest the rest of us.  They, or should I say we, are the very embodiment of hope where there is no hope.  And now twenty-three of us will be killed to show how even that hope was an illusion.  (175-176)

Whoever is picked first, the other will have the option of volunteering to take his place.  I already know what will happen.  Peeta will ask Haymitch to let him go into the arena with me no matter what.  For my sake.  To protect me.  (176)

While I was wallowing around on the floor of that cellar, thinking only of myself, he was here, thinking only of me.  Shame isn’t a strong enough word for what I feel.  (178)

“You could live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him, you know,” Hamitch says.

“Yeah, yeah,” I say brusquely.  “No question, he’s the superior one in this trio.”  (178)

I have a mission.  No, it’s more than a mission.  It’s my dying wish.  Keep Peeta alive. And as unlikely as it seems that I can achieve it in the face of the Capitol’s anger, it’s important that I be at the top of my game.  This won’t happen if I’m mourning for everyone I love back home.  Let them go, I tell myself.  Say good-bye and forget them.  I do. My best, thinking of them one by one, releasing them like birds from the protective cages inside me, locking the doors against their return.  (189)

Evidently, Effie doesn’t know that my mockingjay pin is now a symbol used by the rebels.  At least in District 8.  In the Capitol, the mockingjay is still a fun reminder of an especially exciting Hunger Games.  What else could it be?  Real rebels don’t put a secret symbol on something as durable as jewelry.  They put it on a wafer of bread that can be eaten in a second if necessary.  (190)

Regarding Haymitch using the force field in his Games as a weapon:  “You know they didn’t expect that to happen.  It wasn’t meant to be part of the arena.  They never planned on anyone using it as a weapon.  It made them look stupid that he figured it out.  I bet they had a good time trying to spin that one.  Bet that’s why I don’t remember seeing it on television.  It’s almost as bad as us and the berries!”  (202)

I find myself in the position of having to console them [the prep team].  Since I’m the person going in to be slaughtered, this is somewhat annoying. (205)

It’s something of a revelation that those in the Capitol feel anything at all about us.  They certainly don’t have a problem watching children murdered every year.  But maybe they know too much about the victors, especially the ones who’ve been celebrities for ages, to forget we’re human beings.  It’s more like watching your own friends die.  More like the Games are for those of us in the districts.  (204-205)

Katniss, the girl on fire, as left behind her flickering flames and bejeweled gowns and soft candlelight frocks.  She is as deadly as fire itself.   … “When you’re on the chariot this time, no waving, no smiling.  I just want you to look straight ahead, s if the entire audience is beneath your notice.”

“Finally something I’ll be good at,” I say.  (207)

I simply fix my eyes on a point far in the distance and pretend there is no audience, no hysteria.  I can’t help catching glimpses of us on the huge screens along the route, and we are not just beautiful, we are dark and powerful.  No, more.  We star-crossed lovers from District 12, who suffered so much and enjoyed so little the rewards of our victory, do not seek the fans’ favor grace them with our smiles, or catch their kisses.  We are unforgiving.

And I love it. Getting to be myself at last.  (213)

“I like the District Three victors,” I say.

“Really?” he asks.  “They’re something of a joke to the others.”  (229)

Now I have to go back and tell Haymitch that I want an eight-ear-old and Nuts and Volts for my allies.  He’ll love that.  (232)

The more I come to know these people, the worse it is.  Because, on the whole, I don’t hate them.  And some I like.  And a lot of them are so damaged that my natural instinct would be to protect them. But all of them must die if I’m to save Peeta.  (234)

I’d love to…break through the smug veneer of those who use their brains to find amusing ways to kill us.  To make them realize that while we’re vulnerable to the Capitol’s cruelties, they are as well.  (236)

I painted a picture of Rue…How she looked after Katniss had covered her in flowers.  … I just wanted to hold them accountable, if only for a moment…for killing that little girl.  (240)

“Why did you do it, anyway?” he says.

“I don’t know.  To show them that I’m more than just a piece in their Games?”  I say.  (242)

If I can make it clear that I’m still defying the Capitol right up to the end, the Capitol will have killed me…but not my spirit.  What better way to give hope to the rebels? (243)

The beauty of this idea is that my decision to keep Peeta alive at the expense of my own life is itself an act of defiance.  A refusal to play the Hunger Games by the Capitol’s rules.  My private agenda dovetails completely with my public one.  And if I really could save Peeta…in terms of a revolution, this would be ideal.  They can turn me into some kind of martyr for the cause and paint my face on banners, and it will do more to rally people than anything I could do if I was living.  But Peeta would be more valuable alive, and tragic because he will be able to turn his pain into words that will transform people.  (244)

It’s so barbaric, the president turning my bridal gown into my shroud, that the blow strikes home, leaving me with a dull ache inside. (248)

There.  He’s done it again.  Dropped a bomb that wipes out the efforts of every tribute who came before him.  Well, maybe not.  Maybe this year he has only lit the fuse on a bomb that the victors themselves have been building. Hoping someone would be able to detonate it.  Perhaps thinking it would be me in my bridal gown. Not knowing how much I rely on Cinna’s talents, whereas Peeta needs nothing more than his wits.  (256)

As the bomb explodes [Peeta’s declaration of Katniss’ pregnancy], it sends accusations of injustice and barbarism and cruelty flying out in every direction.  Even the most Capitol-loving, Games-hungry, bloodthirsty person out there can’t ignore, at least for a moment, how horrific the whole thing is. (256)

And then it happens.  Up and down the row, the victors begin to join hands.  …By the time the anthem plays its final strains, all twenty-four of us stand in one unbroken line in what must be the first public show of unity among the districts since the Dark Days.  (258)

“Katniss, when you’re in the arena…  You just remember who the enemy is,” Haymitch tells me.  (260)

All I want to do is collapse on my metal plate.  But I can hardly do that after what I just witnessed.  I must be strong. I owe it to Cinna, who risked everything by undermining President Snow and turning my bridal silk into mockingjay plumage.  And I owe it to the rebels who, emboldened by Cinna’s example, might be fighting to bring down the Capitol at this moment.  My refusal to play the Games on the Capitol’s terms is to e my last act of rebellion.  So I grit my teeth and will myself to be a player.  (267)

Haymitch gave it [the bangle] to him.  As a signal to me.  An order, really.  To trust Finnick.  (270)

“I’ve got no problem with Mags,” I say.  “Especially now that I see the arena.  Her fishhooks are probably our best chance of getting a meal.”

“Katniss wanted her on the first day,” says Peeta.

“Katniss has remarkably good judgment,” says Finnick. (273-274)

Well, what did I think?  That the victors’ chain of locked hands last night would result in some sort of universal truce in the arena?  No, I never believed that.  But I guess I had hoped people might show some…what?  Restraint?  Reluctance, at least.  Before they jumped right into massacre mode.  And you all knew each other, I think.  You acted like friends.  (276)

“What’s going on down there, Katniss?  Have the all joined hands?  Taken a vow of nonviolence?  Tossed the weapons in the sea in defiance of the Capitol?” Finnick asks. … “No…because whatever happened in the past is in the past.  And no one in this arena was a victor b chance…except maybe Peeta.”  (276)

Chinks in the armor, Wiress and Beetee called them, because they reveal what was mean to be hidden and are therefore a weakness.  (286)

Rubbing salt in a wound.  For the first time I truly appreciate the expression, because the salt in the water makes the pain of my wounds so blinding I nearly black out.  But there’s another sensation, of drawing out.  I experiment by gingerly placing only my hand in the water.  Torturous, yes, but then less so.  And through the blue layer of water, I see a milky substance leaching out of the wounds on my skin. As the whiteness diminishes, so does the pain.  (306)

Remembering from last year how Haymitch’s gifts are often timed to send a message, I make a note to myself.  Be friends with Finnick.  You’ll get food. (317)

“She’s more than smart,” says Beetee.  “She’s intuitive….  She can sense things before anyone else.  Like a canary in one of your coal mines.”

… “It’s a bird that we take down into the mines to warn us if there’s bad air,” I say. … “It stops singing first.  That’s when you should get out.” (330)

There is no question about it.  For reasons completely unfathomable to me, some of the other victors are trying to keep him alive, even if it means sacrificing themselves.

I’m dumbfounded.  … Only one of us can get out.  So why have they chosen Peeta to protect?  What has Haymitch possibly said to them, what has he bargained with to make them put Peeta’s life above their own?  (337-338)

I stop fighting Finnick, thought, and like the night in the fog, I flee what I can’t fight.  What can only do me harm.  Only this time it’s my heart and not my body that’s disintegrating.  This must be another weapon of the clock.  (343)

Johanna:  “Whole country in rebellion?  Wouldn’t want anything like that!”

My mouth drops open in shock.  No one, ever, says anything like this in the Games. Absolutely, they’ve cut away from Johanna, are editing her out. But I have heard her and can never think about her again in the same way.  She’ll never win any awards for kindness, but she certainly is gutsy.  Or crazy.  (345-346)

Peeta’s intention is clear.  That Gale really is my family, or will be one day, if I live. That I’ll marry him.  So Peeta’s giving me his life and Gale at he same time.  To let me know I shouldn’t ever have doubts about it.  Everything.  That’s what Peeta wants me to take from him.  (351)

Enemy.  Enemy.  The word is tugging at a recent memory.  Pulling it into the present.  The look on Haymitch’s face.  “Katniss, when you’re in the arena…” The scowl, the misgiving.  “What?”  I hear my own voice tighten as I bristle at some unspoken accusation.  “You just remember who the enemy is,” Haymitch says, “That’s all.”

Haymitch’s last words of advice to me.  Hwy would I need reminding?  I have always known who the enemy is.  Who starves and tortures and kills us in the arena.  Who will soon kill everyone I love.

My bow drops as his meaning registers.  Yes, I know who the enemy is. And it’s not Enobaria. (378)

Will they let anyone survive?  Will there be a victor of the Seventh-fifth Hunger Games?  Maybe not.  After all, what is this Quarter Quell but…what was it President Snow read from the card?

“…a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the Capitol…”

Not even the strongest of the strong will triumph.  Perhaps they never intended to have a victor in these Games after all.  Or perhaps my final act of rebellion forced their hand.  (380)

The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames.  I am the mockingjay.  The one that survived despite the Capitol’s plans.  The symbol of the rebellion.  (386-387)