Dialogue: The beginning exchange between Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch is excellent. First, there's a lot of emotion between the characters, especially Katniss and Peeta. This is brought out by Katniss describing how what Peeta says "rubs me the wrong way." Collins lets Katniss tell her the emotion she feels. But at the same time, for three-fourths of a page, there is mostly just back-and-forth between Katniss and Peeta, and this is how Collins brings the emotion and tension.
Tension: For the past few chapters, we and Katniss have been feeling good about her stake in the Games. But now we see the Careers, who will be a huge struggle for Katniss. Also, as we get to know Peeta more, the more tension it creates knowing they'll be thrown into the Games together. And if it wasn't enough to have Peeta, we're introduced to Rue as well. Now there are two people going into the arena that we don't want to die, but we don't want Katniss to die, either.
- Katniss: We see her aggravated side here, her desire to keep people at a distance with Peeta and again with Rue. We also see her passionate, impulsive side when she shoots the arrow at the Gamemakers.
- Rue: Katniss continues to compare Rue with Prim, and our established tenderness toward Prim goes out to Rue as well. At the same time, though, we see her with a slingshot and her ability to quietly follow Peeta and Katniss, which sets her apart from Prim as well and give her her own character.
- Peeta: The interesting thing about Peeta is that in the beginning of this, I've met several people who read him in different ways. In this chapter, it confirmed to me that Peeta was crushing on Katniss. I've also talked with people who thought that he was out to kill Katniss, and others who thought that he just thought of Katniss as a friend. This is a highlighting chapter in these different perceptions of him, partly because we don't know him well yet. But looking back on this chapter knowing his intent, we see his pain (with his mother saying that Katniss will win), his genuine interest in Katniss doing her best in the Games (telling Haymitch her strengths), as well as his humor ("say the arena is actually a giant cake").