An Abundance of Katherines

by

John Green

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An Abundance of Katherines: Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In the morning, Colin goes downstairs to find Hollis passed out on the couch and Hassan eating breakfast. Hassan shows Colin a note from Hollis directing them to speed up their interviews by asking only four questions: “Where would you live if you could live anywhere? What would you do for a living if you didn’t work for the factory? When did your people come to the country? and What do you think makes Gutshot special?” She asks them not to wake her because she wrote the note at 5:30 a.m.
Hollis’s questions demonstrate a way in which narrative evidence might be collected in a way directed toward a specific narrative end. Hollis’s expectation that all the interviewees will have ready answers to the broad questions emphasizes that Colin might not have answers to any of them because he has not reflected enough on who he is and what he wants from life.
Themes
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Self-Actualization Theme Icon
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Hassan teases Colin about his bedhead and Colin’s insistence that it makes him look like Nikola Tesla. Nonetheless, Hassan shares the eggs he has made with Colin. Colin says Hassan is a good cook, and Hassan says that’s “how Daddy got so fat.” He says he is now going to refer to himself exclusively as “Daddy.” Lindsey interrupts the conversation by coming down the stairs. Colin thinks she looks extra pretty because she is not wearing makeup. He thinks again of Katherine XIX without makeup and reflects that “She was the nexus of all the connections his brain made.”
Hassan’s joking again snaps Colin out of his over-seriousness. By offering Colin food, Hassan also once again brings Colin back to his bodily senses from his cerebral haze, in which he thinks about historical figures such as Nikola Tesla. The sight of Lindsey sets Colin adrift again, thinking about Katherine XIX. However, instead of his failure, the thought of her now makes him think about the connections his brain makes. These connections are something he likes about himself instead of something he thinks of as a shortcoming.
Themes
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Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Colin, Hassan, and Lindsey get out the door and go to interview a bearded man named Hezekiah Wilson Jones. After the interview, Lindsey says she is going to see TOC at the store and asks the boys to pick her up later. Colin thinks that they must be her friends if she trusts them not to rat her out to Hollis. “Almost by accident,” the narrator states, “and in just two days, Colin had made his second-ever friend.” Colin and Hassan continue the interviews without Lindsey. Colin is interested that most of the interviewees say they would still live in Gutshot if they could live anywhere, but he mostly lets Hassan ask the questions so that he can focus on the Theorem. Eventually, he dwells only on the hole in his gut and how much it hurts.
Although Colin is clearly beginning to see Lindsey as a romantic interest, his satisfaction with being able to classify her as a friend demonstrates that Colin has grown to see that friendship is an important part of self-fulfillment. Colin still ends up dwelling on the hole in his gut, but his determination to complete the Theorem has less now to do with Katherine XIX and more to do with showing Lindsey that he can tell a story with math. This shows that he is beginning to develop his own self-understanding.
Themes
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Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Toward the end of the day, a woman walks into the room where Colin and Hassan are conducting the interviews and says she is the last employee who hasn’t been interviewed. She has heard that one of them is a genius and wants to know why the shower curtain always blows in instead of out. Colin explains that it is because the running water creates a low-pressure area that pulls the curtain in. Even Hassan admits that this is interesting. The woman turns out to be named Katherine. She is attractive and “sexily older” at twenty-two, but Colin is not interested in her because of Katherine XIX.
Colin, who has been letting Hassan ask the questions, finally speaks up when he has the opportunity to show off his intelligence. The fact that he does so before finding out that the interviewee is named Katherine demonstrates that Colin is not solely invested in impressing Katherine XIX, but he still insists that Katherine XIX is his sole focus. Colin thus remains blind to what he really wants despite his strides toward articulating goals that are more varied and nuanced than the goal of “being special.”
Themes
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Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
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After the interviews, Colin and Hassan drive around until Colin decides, against Hassan’s protests, to trudge out into a field to call Katherine XIX. He gets her voicemail and leaves a message about how much he loves her. On his way back to the car, she calls back. She has not listened to the message but tells him that she feels their breakup was the right decision. Her mother told her that it always seemed like they were unhealthily attached at the hip. Colin tells her that being attached would be better than this. He claims that “Singleton,” his last name, is the word for someone who is not a conjoined twin. Katherine suggests that they do not talk to each other until the end of summer. After they hang up, Colin lies on the ground and thinks about how much he misses the future he had imagined with Katherine.
Colin is clearly more heartbroken than Katherine XIX. She cares about him, but the phone call makes it clear to the reader (if not Colin) that the relationship is over. Colin’s strange interest in being a conjoined twin demonstrates that he feels as though he is not self-sufficient without his girlfriend. He fails to see that in order to have a healthy relationship, he needs first to be a complete person on his own. The fact that Colin misses a future he never experienced indicates the extent to which the relationship for him was about fulfilling an ideal rather than about experiencing a happy relationship in the present.
Themes
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Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Eventually, Hassan, who has left to pick up Lindsey, pulls up with Lindsey in Satan’s Hearse. Both Hassan and Lindsey try to comfort Colin, Lindsey telling him to let it out when he begins to cry. Colin protests that if he begins sobbing, it will sound like a bullfrog’s mating call. All three of them laugh.
Colin’s feelings of deep loneliness are interrupted by Hassan and Lindsey. While it is reasonable for Colin to be sad, his feeling that he is alone and helpless without Katherine XIX is overly dramatic and simply not true.
Themes
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In the evening, Colin works on the Theorem but becomes increasingly frustrated as he comes to the conclusion that although he could conceive of the idea, it will take a genius to complete it. Bent on burning his notebook, he goes in search of a match and ends up in Lindsey’s room. He notices that all the pictures of her in the room are from the past couple years. Lindsey looks through Colin’s notebook and asks Colin to explain it. He tells her about the scale he has created going from -5 for a strong Dumpee to +5 for a strong Dumper. Lindsey tells him that she wants the notebook for a few days before he burns it. She says she hates math, but this is a cool way to tell stories. She agrees that they can burn it soon.
Colin is interested in Lindsey’s room because he is interested in her. This interest in itself demonstrates growth, given that Colin generally struggles to show interest in most people besides himself. Furthermore, Colin seeks Lindsey’s help. Although he at first only wants her help to burn the notebook, he allows her to look over his math before destroying it. This demonstrates that Colin trusts Lindsey to see the inner workings of his brain, one of the prize pieces of Colin’s identity.
Themes
Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon