Hearing the news about her sister being selected, Katniss jumps in front of her and volunteers as tribute in her sister’s place. We learn that volunteers are allowed but it hardly ever happens in the poorer districts as they usually do not survive the Games. Katniss and Prim hug and Gale has to pull Prim back from Katniss so she can walk up on stage. Katniss works hard to suppress her emotions because she does not want to appear weak in front of the other tributes. The people of District 12 are silent and give Katniss the three fingered salute of the district, a rare gesture meaning thank you, we admire you and goodbye. Haymitch stumbles onto the stage and falls off, which is all caught on camera. Effie selects the male tribute who is Peeta Mellark, a boy Katniss has known for years.
She reflects on how her father taught her these skills before he died in a mine explosion when she was eleven and prides herself on how well she has learned to use her bow. Katniss offers more information about her family and remembers how her mother came from a family of merchants that ran an apothecary shop but fell in love with Katniss’ father and left her life to live in the Seam.
As he is selected, Katniss recalls her most significant encounter with Peeta. After her father died, her mother completely broke down and could not provide for the family. Katniss was not old enough for the tesserae but was responsible for feeding her family in a place where people dying from starvation is common. She wandered around town starving and ends up behind the bakery looking in the trash for any scraps she can take. The baker’s wife appears and shoos her away. She slumps down behind the bakery and shortly after Peeta comes out from the bakery with two burnt loaves of bread and a welt on his face. He throws the bread in her direction and she realizes that he probably burnt the loaves on purpose to give to her and got punished. When she sees Peeta again, she sees the first dandelion of spring and remembers that she can feed her family based on the skills her father taught her. Although they do not interact while they are growing up, Katniss recognizes that he resembles hope to her and is forever grateful to him for what he did. She struggles with the fact that she may have to kill this person who has helped her in order to survive the Hunger Games.
This chapter gives the reader more insight into Katniss as a character. Katniss spends much of this chapter reflecting on her upbringing and on how that has turned her into someone strong and self-reliant. This flashback into her past also highlights the injustices placed on the people by the government and the amount of control they have over the people. The readers get a sense of Katniss’ love for her family as she volunteers to go in her sister’s place to the Games. When Peeta is announced as the male tribute, we find out his and Katniss’ history and get a sense of Katniss’ discomfort over feeling indebted to him for helping her out as a child.