All American Boys

Quinn Collins Character Analysis

Quinn is the other main character in the novel. He is white and a senior at Springfield Central High. His father was a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan, and throughout the novel Quinn struggles with the responsibilities his father’s absence creates and the challenge of living up to his legacy. He is a dutiful son to Ma and older brother to Willy, but sometimes still gets into trouble, for example for stealing his mother’s bourbon. Quinn accidentally witnesses Rashad’s violent arrest at Jerry’s, and is left feeling confused and troubled by what he saw. His discomfort is magnified by the fact that Paul Galluzzo has served as a father figure to him ever since Quinn’s real father died. Over the course of the novel Quinn struggles to define his own beliefs about race and racism, at times attempting to erase the incident at Jerry’s from his mind. However, by the end of the novel he has come to fervently believe in the importance of fighting for racial justice.

Quinn Collins Quotes in All American Boys

The All American Boys quotes below are all either spoken by Quinn Collins or refer to Quinn Collins. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Atheneum edition of All American Boys published in 2015.
2. Friday: Quinn Quotes

I wasn’t a stand-in for Dad. Nobody could be that. When the IED got him in Afghanistan, he became an instant saint in Springfield. I wasn't him. I'd never be him. But I was still supposed to try. That was my role: the dutiful son, the

All-American boy with an All-American fifteen-foot deadeye jump shot and an All-American 3.5 GPA.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Quinn’s Father
Related Symbols: Basketball
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
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4. Saturday: Quinn Quotes

I begin almost every day the same way: Ma's voice in my head, telling me what I needed to do, what I needed to think about, how I needed to act. But on mornings like this one––or if Coach Carney was making us do suicides up and down the court for fifteen minutes, or when Dwyer dropped another five-pounder on either side of the bar on my last rep in the weight room––it was Dad's voice in my head, or at least what I thought was his voice. I hadn't heard it in so long, I couldn’t even tell if it was his or if I was making it up. Whatever it was, it got me to where I needed to get.

PUSH! If you don't, someone else will. LIFT! If you don't, someone else will. Faster faster, faster, faster FASTER!

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Ma, Quinn’s Father, Dwyer, Coach Carney
Related Symbols: Basketball
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
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6. Sunday: Quinn Quotes

I felt like such an ass. I'd quickly convinced myself I had no idea who that kid with Paul was that night. And yeah, there were like a thousand kids in each grade at school, or whatever, but I did know him. Or know of him, really. I'd seen him––Rashad––in that uniform, and it'd made me think of my dad wearing his own at college. How my dad had looked proud in all those pictures.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Rashad Butler , Paul Galluzzo , Quinn’s Father
Related Symbols: Uniforms
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
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7. Monday: Quinn Quotes

“I mean, it's Paul. This is the same guy I’ve seen carrying my mom up the front steps, for God's sake.” I was thinking about that time Ma got trashed because it was her first wedding anniversary without Dad. Paul had been so

gentle. He'd taken the frigging day off just so she didn’t have to spend it alone. “She was tanked,” I said to Jill. “And he helped her home. I remember him putting her down on the couch and pulling the afghan over her.”

“Paulie's always been the good guy.”

“That's what I want to think.”

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Jill (speaker), Paul Galluzzo , Ma, Quinn’s Father
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:
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9. Tuesday: Quinn Quotes

“Why does it automatically gotta be Rashad's fault? Why do people think he was on drugs? That dude doesn’t do drugs. He's ROTC, man. His dad would kick his ass. You do drugs, asshole.”

“Just a puff here and there, man, come on. I don’t do drugs."

"I’ve seen you smoking a blunt. Metcalf sold you that shit. Metcalf––a white dude, by the way. Man, that shit could have been laced with crack, or fucking Drano. You don’t know what you talkin’ ‘bout.”

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), English Jones (speaker), Rashad Butler
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
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Now I was thinking about how, if I wanted to, I could walk away and not think about Rashad, in a way that English or Shannon or Tooms or any of the guys at school who were not white could not. Even if they didn't know Rashad, even if for some reason, they hated Rashad, they couldn’t just

ignore what happened to him; they couldn't walk away. They were probably afraid, too. Afraid of people like Paul. Afraid of cops in general. Hell, they were probably afraid of people like me. I didn’t blame them. I'd be afraid too, even if I was a frigging house like Tooms. But I didn't have to be because

my shield was that I was white. It didn't matter that I knew Paul. I could be all the way across the country in California and I'd still be white, cops and everyone else would still see me as just a “regular kid,” an “All-American” boy. “Regular.” “All American.” White. Fuck.

Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
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11. Wednesday: Quinn Quotes

If I didn't want the violence to remain, I had to do a hell of a lot more than just say the right things and not say the wrong things.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker)
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:
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13. Thursday: Quinn Quotes

Well, where was I when Rashad was lying in the street? Where was I the year all these black American boys were lying in the streets? Thinking about scouts? Keeping my head down like Coach said? That was walking away. It was running away, for God's sake.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Rashad Butler , Coach Carney
Related Symbols: Basketball
Page Number: 251
Explanation and Analysis:
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I did not want to be a hero. I did not want to make any of what had happened in the last week about me. There was a guy who'd just spent six days in the hospital because the guy who'd been my personal hero for four years had put him there.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Rashad Butler , Paul Galluzzo
Page Number: 266
Explanation and Analysis:
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I'd been thinking about that all day, but I didn’t have the words for it until Ma brought up Dad. Everybody wanted me to be loyal. Ma wanted me to be loyal. Guzzo wanted me to be loyal. Paul wanted me to be loyal. Your dad was loyal to the end, they'd all tell me. Loyal to his country, loyal to his family, they meant. But it wasn't about loyalty. It was about him standing up for what he believed in. And I wanted to be my dad's son. Someone who believed a better world was possible––someone who stood up for it.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Paul Galluzzo , Ma, Quinn’s Father, Guzzo
Page Number: 267
Explanation and Analysis:
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15. Friday: Quinn Quotes

What about Dad? Talk about a man who died for his convictions. How many times did he re-up after 9/11?. Three. I was old enough now to know he wasn’t fearless. He'd probably been scared shitless every time he went back. He wasn’t strong because he wasn’t afraid. No, he was strong because he kept doing it even though he was afraid.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Quinn’s Father
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:
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I wondered if anybody thought what we were doing was unpatriotic. It was weird. Thinking that to protest was somehow un-American. That was bullshit.

This was very American, goddamn All-American.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker)
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:
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Quinn Collins Character Timeline in All American Boys

The timeline below shows where the character Quinn Collins appears in All American Boys. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
2. Friday: Quinn
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
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On Friday nights all Quinn cares about is partying, but before he can go out tonight he needs to take... (full context)
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People say that Quinn’s neighborhood, the West Side, is “going to shit.” Everyone in the West Side lives in... (full context)
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Quinn’s friends Dwyer and Guzzo are waiting for him in the alley by Jerry’s. When Quinn... (full context)
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Quinn and his friends always buy beer from Jerry’s. They used to shoplift from there, but... (full context)
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Quinn sees that the guy on the ground is only a teenager and that he looks... (full context)
4. Saturday: Quinn
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Quinn explains that fights are pretty common in Springfield, and that he tried to convince himself... (full context)
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Ma asks what’s wrong, and Quinn tells her it’s nothing. He explains that he needs to head to the basketball court... (full context)
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Quinn gets out of the shower and runs straight into Ma, who demands to know “the... (full context)
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Willy is unenthused by soccer, but at the game Quinn shouts encouragement. Guzzo texts to say he has a terrible hangover. He adds that Paul... (full context)
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Mother’s Pizza is packed. On the wall there is a photo of Quinn’s father at the St. Mary’s soup kitchen, and Quinn always tries to avoid sitting near... (full context)
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...lies at the border between neighborhoods. People of every race go to eat there, but Quinn notices that the four men being arrested now are white. Quinn suggests they get out... (full context)
6. Sunday: Quinn
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Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
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On Saturday night, Quinn had stayed in watching a movie and playing video games with Willy. On Sunday, he,... (full context)
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...announcing that it is almost halftime and the burgers will need to be ready soon. Quinn quietly admits to Jill that he witnessed the incident at Jerry’s first-hand. Jill tells Quinn... (full context)
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Jill says she heard that Rashad resisted arrest, and asks if Paul saw Quinn at the time. Before Quinn can answer, Paul yells at Quinn to stop “hitting on”... (full context)
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Although Paul is acting friendly, he is also suspicious of Quinn and comments that he seems “uptight.” Quinn brushes this off and takes the burgers into... (full context)
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...news comes on, with the item about Rashad and Jerry’s. Someone quickly mutes it, but Quinn has already flushed bright red. Mr. Galluzzo suggests they might need more burgers, but Paul... (full context)
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The teams are Paul and Guzzo against Quinn and Dwyer. While they play, Paul becomes increasingly aggressive with Quinn, while claiming: “I’m just... (full context)
7. Monday: Quinn
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Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Quinn arrives at school to find everyone discussing Rashad. Quinn has received texts from Dwyer and... (full context)
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At lunch, Jill asks to sit with Quinn. Jill asks if Quinn has seen Guzzo; although he doesn’t tell Jill this, Quinn has... (full context)
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Suddenly, Quinn remembers a time when, years ago, Paul had “kicked the shit out of” a kid... (full context)
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After lunch, Quinn thinks about when Paul beat up Marc. Marc was an older kid who bullied Quinn;... (full context)
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In Quinn’s next class, Ms. Webber announces that there has been a change of plan for that... (full context)
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Someone else in class says “Paul Galluzzo.” Quinn is angry; he thinks that talking about Rashad’s arrest just makes it worse. At basketball... (full context)
9. Tuesday: Quinn
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American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
On Tuesday morning, Quinn arrives at school to find the words “RASHAD IS ABSENT AGAIN TODAY” spray-painted on the... (full context)
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Jill asks Quinn where he’s going to sit, and tells him she wants to sit outside. Quinn agrees,... (full context)
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...practice, Coach Carney pushes the team extra hard. While they are on the leg machines, Quinn asks English if he knows who did the graffiti. English is standoffish, and tells Quinn:... (full context)
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When the team starts to play, Quinn keeps messing up. He admits to Coach that his head is “up my ass” and... (full context)
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After watching, Quinn texts Jill to say he’s seen the video and then calls her, confessing his feelings... (full context)
11. Wednesday: Quinn
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Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
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On Wednesday, Quinn still feels like he is in a “daze.” While taking Willy to school, he bumps... (full context)
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...distributes copies of the first chapter of Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man, entitled “Battle Royale.” Quinn is horrified by the story, which depicts old white men making young black men fight... (full context)
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...She says that her head of department has advised her not to assign “Battle Royale.” Quinn writes a note to Tooms, suggesting that Rashad is the “invisible man” at Springfield High,... (full context)
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At practice, Quinn is able to focus on basketball for the first time since Rashad’s arrest, and he... (full context)
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After practice, Guzzo once again defends Paul to Quinn, saying he was “just doing his job.” He asks Quinn what he would say if... (full context)
13. Thursday: Quinn
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On Thursday, Quinn wakes early, his thoughts “racing.” He looks out the window at the Galluzzos’ house, and... (full context)
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Quinn goes into his room and grabs a plain white t-shirt. On the front, he writes:... (full context)
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Guzzo avoids Quinn all day, and at basketball practice refuses to look Quinn in the eye. As English... (full context)
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Once Quinn gets changed back into his normal clothes, Coach Carney points to his shirt and says,... (full context)
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That night, Ma freaks out at Quinn’s busted-up face and asks what he did. Willy points out that it was Guzzo who... (full context)
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Paul had announced that he was going to become a cop when Quinn was in ninth grade. He claimed to have been inspired by the example set by... (full context)
14. Thursday: Rashad
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...and Rashad replies: “He deserves a face.” Rashad texts his friends, who tell him about Quinn and Guzzo’s fight at basketball practice. English says: “School is intense. Everybody’s picked a side.” (full context)
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...happening at school in Rashad’s absence. English tells Rashad about the argument he had with Quinn at basketball practice, and then explains how he and Quinn decided to name their new... (full context)
15. Friday: Quinn
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Quinn admits that he is terrified on Friday. He begins the day by calling the police... (full context)
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Quinn sees Jill, who explains that the police are preparing for “major riots.” Quinn expresses his... (full context)
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During the school day, everyone is distracted. After the final bell rings, Quinn sees Dwyer headed to basketball practice. He knows that there will be consequences for him... (full context)
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As Quinn joins the march, he films the protesters and cops around him. He then points the... (full context)
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The die-in takes place, and Quinn listens with horror as someone recites the many names of black people killed by the... (full context)
17. Friday: Quinn and Rashad
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The final chapter alternates between Quinn and Rashad as they catch one another’s eyes during the die-in. Rashad can tell that... (full context)