Haymitch Abernathy – The Hunger Games

Overview of Haymitch

Haymitch Abernathy is a main character in the book ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins. He is a former winner of the Hunger Games, which is ‘a televised event in which the participants, or “tributes”, must fight to the death in a dangerous outdoor arena until only one remains’. Haymitch is a resident of District 12, a very poor district that suffers from starvation. In District 12, survival is the most important thing, so they cannot train for the Hunger Games, unlike District’s 1,2 and 4. Therefore, a tribute from District 12 rarely wins, so Haymitch is the only alive victor from District 12. As the only alive victor, Haymitch is forced to mentor the upcoming tributes from District 12. However, after years and years of his students dying after mentoring them, he became an alcoholic. I don’t blame him either. If you tried your hardest to train two tributes that are underdogs to begin with, and watch your work be wasted as they die a week later, it would get pretty tiring and depressing, especially if you build a relationship with them. However, things change when he meets Peeta and Katniss.

Mentoring of Katniss and Peeta

Peeta and Katniss confront Haymitch not too long after they meet him, and Haymitch sees some hope in Peeta and Katniss. Therefore, Haymitch sobers up and helps Peeta and Katniss become the most popular tributes, and in turn, giving them an early advantage. This  shows that Haymitch is a capable mentor that wishes the best of his tributes, but cannot stand to get to close with them and eventually watch them die.

Haymitch and Katniss relationship

Haymitch and Katniss also share a special relationship. Haymitch sends Katniss messages in ways that only Katniss would understand. For example, early on in the Games, Katniss was desperately in the need of water. Realizing Haymitch controlled all her gifts, she asked for water out loud, hoping Haymitch would hear her and respond. However, when Haymitch didn’t respond, Katniss realized he must be sending a message; there is water nearby. Few people would have interpreted that message, and would have assumed Haymitch was ignoring them. Another example of this is when Katniss and Peeta were hiding out in the cave. Katniss kissed Peeta, and promptly received a bowl of soup from Haymitch. Peeta would have read the bowl of soup as a gift from Haymitch, but Katniss read it as: one kiss equals one bowl of soup. Haymitch sends messages to Katniss through his actions, and only Katniss interprets them as messages.

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