Catching Fire Chapters 8 - 9 Summary

Gale is tied to a post being whipped by the new Head Peacekeeper, Romulus Thread, when Katniss throws herself between Gale and the Peacekeeper. She takes the full brunt of the whip on her face as she shields her friend. The whip leaves a welt rising on her face and her eye begins to swell shut. Romulus Thread is about to hit her again, when Haymitch intervenes on her behalf, telling Romulus he will call the Capitol if he doesn't stop immediately. Peeta joins Katniss and they form a human barrier between the Peacekeeper and Gale. Romulus stops whipping Gale, but he warns he will kill Gale the next time he is caught poaching. He is being punished for poaching a turkey.

It seems Gale had taken the bird to Head Peacekeeper Cray's house to sell to him. But instead of Cray, Romulus Thread, the new Head Peacekeeper answered the door. When he saw the bird in Gale's hand, Thread immediately arrested him and sentenced him to a whipping. The whipping is immediately enforced and this is the scene Katniss and Peeta encounter as they walk to the town square.

They take Gale, who is unconscious, to Katniss' mother, so she can tend to his wounds. She works for quite a while on Gale, until she can treat his wounds properly. Katniss' mother is known to the towns' people as a healer and she possess a natural talent for helping people in times of distress. She knows exactly what herbs and remedies to use to help them through their health crises.

Katniss becomes angry with her mother, because she feels she is not giving Gale enough pain medication. The reason is pain killers are scarce and expensive, so her mother saves the most potent medication for patients, who are in pain as they die. Katniss becomes so enraged and out of control that she has to be removed from the room.

Haymitch explains to Katniss' mother the circumstances surrounding Gale's whipping. He tells her it is starting again, which confuses Katniss. Sometime in the past, living in District 12 must have been a worse experience than it is now.

As Gale rests, after being given a shot of morphling, supplied by Madge, Katniss' friend, Katniss reflects on her actions during and after the Games. Katniss realizes running away is not the correct course of action, instead she along with the others must stand and fight for what is right. She feels guilty as she acknowledges to herself that she has been primarily looking out for herself, but she is now determined to fight along with Gale against President Snow and the government.

Peeta wakes Katniss the next morning as she lays asleep holding Gale's hand. Peeta is clearly upset to see his fiancé holding Gale's hand, but he doesn't want to talk about it, instead he orders her to bed.

She wakes up from a nightmare wishing Peeta was there to hold her, then she realizes no matter who she longs for someone is going to be hurt. A blizzard outside gives her some comfort, because she thinks it will give her and the others some time to plan their rebellion. She also knows the Peacekeepers will not be able to make their way to her home to arrest her in the storm.

She has decided she needs to fight for Prim and Rue, who have endured too much misery and pain in their young lives. Prim has endured losing her father and watching Katniss fight for her life in the Games and Rue lost her life because she was forced to participate in the Games. This is why fighting is so important, it is for the children.

Two days later the blizzard is over, so Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch take a walk to the village square. They need to talk over what they should do now that District 12 is under a new Head Peacekeeper. Katniss wants to fight, but Haymitch tells her it is no use. This is underscored as they approach the village square and see an official whipping post, stockades, and gallows all freshly constructed during the storm. They also notice the Peacekeepers have new white uniforms and some are stationed on the rooftops. District 12 has been turned into a fortress.

Romulus Thread has had the Hob burned down and the people are afraid to leave their homes. The sight of Peeta and Katniss makes them withdraw, turning the two of them into outcasts in their own district.

Katniss realizes the people are not ready for an uprising, because they can only think of surviving. The mine is closed for two weeks and when it reopens the men are paid less, work more hours, and the work is even more dangerous. Then the food shortage starts, even though the district is getting its monthly allotments. This is because the allotment food arrives either spoiled or has been eaten by rats.

Gale returns home, but his brother has to sign up for tesserae, because their mother, Hazelle, no has anyone willing to pay her to wash their clothes. Haymitch hires Hazelle to clean his house at Katniss' urging. Haymitch is going through withdrawal, because alcohol is no longer available.

One day Katniss slips through the fence and makes her way to the pond house she used to visit with her father. There she is approached by a Peacekeeper, who instead of shooting her shows her a cracker with the image of a mockingjay on it. This turn of events surprises her.

Gale suffers a whipping at the hands of the new Head Peacekeeper. This forces Katniss to take stock of her actions and makes her realize she has strong feelings for Gale. She wants to start a rebellion in District 12, until she sees how the Head Peacekeeper is using his authority to crush the will of the people. She then realizes a rebellion will not work.

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