The book opens with Gale Hawthorne and Katniss slipping away into the woods on the day of The Reaping, which is the only place where they feel safe enough to discuss The Capitol and other problems. Being poachers, they catch their loot of the day and go out to sell it at District 12's black market, The Hob, to Greasy Sae and other customers. Once the game is sold, Gale and Katniss go to Mayor Undersee's house to sell strawberries, an old favourite of the mayor's. When they knock on the door, Madge, the mayor's daughter, answers the door. After a petty argument between Gale and Madge ensues, Katniss returns home to prepare for the Reaping. Because the day of the Reaping is a solemn one, Katniss tries to cheer Prim up by commenting on her dress, a previous Reaping day outfit for Katniss (which is a little roomy on Prim), and says "tuck your tail in, little duck". This displays Katniss' love for her sister.
At the Reaping Ceremony, Prim is chosen as the girl tribute for District 12. Katniss, devastated and shocked, immediately volunteers for her twelve year old sister. This is seen as an almost unheard of occurrence as the last winner was almost 24 years ago. As the rest of the District stares in shocked silence, Katniss becomes the female tribute for her district. As an act of respect to a loved one, the entire district places the three fingers of their left hands to their lips and presses outward in a silent salute. Proceeding this, the next tribute, Peeta Mellark, is chosen. Katniss's mind reels as she remembers the one real interaction she had with him some time previous. She is distraught that he saved her life by tossing her the bread that day.
Katniss and Peeta are then taken into custody, being guarded so they do not escape. Katniss and Peeta are permitted visitors, and Katniss has five. When her mother and Prim arrive, Katniss makes her mother promise not to "leave" Prim as she did when their father died in a tragic mine explosion, as she is confident...
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