Flashback: There is a lot about Katniss's life before we meet her that is important to know in order to know her character. Collins leads into Katniss flashing back by the sight of an object that connects with her past--in this case, a dandelion. From this object, the past event is connected to the present. And to come back to the present all in the same chapter, Collins has Katniss remember about how she had never forgiven her mother, and now, she had no chance to right that, because she's going to the Games and probably to her death.
- Haymitch: Besides being drunk, we see that Haymitch has just stopped caring about the Games. Reading it for the first time, we might be annoyed at him, just like Katniss, but Collins is creating a character here that has been through more than we know. She's laying down the surface problem before getting into his deeper emotions.
- Peeta: The kind boy with the bread is being kind as usual, but then he gets angry, and starts to butter up to the Capitol people. Just like Katniss, we realize that he's fighting for his life as Katniss is. From this chapter, we start to see how he can act any way he wants in order to get what he needs--nice guy, aggressive, friendly. It's important for later on to be able to see that this is his strategy.
What we can learn in a nutshell: When beginning and ending a flashback, connect the past and the present together to make it flow. Show a character's outside that is important to their inside. Mix the action with the dialogue so both can help each other from getting monotonous.