An Abundance of Katherines

by

John Green

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An Abundance of Katherines: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Colin, who has never seen people having sex before, finds the sight of Katrina and the guy in the graveyard ridiculous but intriguing. Hassan begins to laugh and yells, “I AM BREAKING UP WITH YOU!” Colin reflects that Hassan “takes so little seriously.” Hassan tells Colin that he has to see the humor in Hassan walking out of the forest in such a sad state to find the first girl he ever kissed having sex with TOC next to the Archduke’s grave. Colin turns around and sees that Hassan is right—the guy with Katrina is TOC. Colin charges toward TOC but doesn’t know what to do once they are face to face. TOC threatens to beat up Colin and Hassan if they tell Lindsey. Katrina admits that this arrangement has been going on for a long time, and Hassan says they can still be friends. TOC swears this was the last time.
Colin’s unfamiliarity with sex reinforces that although he has dated a lot, he is still quite young. The fact that he is baffled by Hassan’s amusement at the circumstances gives the impression that Colin takes his own romantic relationships more seriously than they might be to others. Colin’s urge to beat up TOC shows that Colin’s feelings for Lindsey might be more complex than his feelings for the Katherines. He thus shows greater investment in Lindsey’s happiness in this scene than he has shown for Katherine XIX’s happiness throughout the book.
Themes
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
When Lindsey, SOCT, and JATT show up, Colin tries to decide whether or not to tell Lindsey—would he want to know if he were her, and what about the fact that he likes her? Lindsey, smiling cheerily, has brought beer for TOC, and Colin feels horrible for her. No one, it turns out, has killed a hog. SOCT and JATT squabble over which one of them shot a squirrel, and Lindsey teases them for being like an old married couple both in love with TOC. They both begin repeatedly trying to assert their heterosexuality.
Colin continues to demonstrate that he wants what is best for Lindsey. He could tell her that TOC has been cheating on her in order to get her to break up with TOC. Regardless of whether such a breakup would lead to a relationship between Lindsey and Colin, it would mean that Colin could see less of TOC, whom he does not particularly like.
Themes
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Everyone drinks except Hassan, who says he is no longer drinking. Lindsey asks if Colin is quiet because of the stings, and he says they burn “like the fire of ten thousand suns.” TOC says “Pussy,” which is the breaking point Colin needs to pull out the mini recorder and play back the conversation, which he recorded, in which Katrina and TOC admitted to hooking up with each other occasionally ever since they dated sophomore year. Suddenly, everyone gets into a fist fight. Colin is impressed to see JATT go after TOC, even though TOC knocks him out. Colin and Hassan try to rush TOC, who is holding onto Lindsey against her will. TOC knocks them to the ground, but Lindsey frees herself by squeezing TOC’s genitals. Colin makes his way to the Archduke’s obelisk, “the only geographical location in the world that wasn’t currently spinning.”
The events in the graveyard seem to have made Hassan decide to go back to his usual habits of not dating and not drinking. He makes these decisions for himself, which shows a strong sense of commitment to his values and the person he wants to be. Colin has more difficulty deciding what his values are in this moment. The fact that TOC’s feminizing insult is what gets Colin to break suggests that Colin’s insecurity has led him to feel he must demonstrate his masculinity in front of Lindsey.
Themes
Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Once Colin has recovered a bit, everyone gangs up on TOC. Colin is an inexperienced fighter and accidentally slaps Hassan. TOC kicks Colin in the groin, and Colin vomits on his way to the ground. He feels that the “Franz Ferdinandian hole in his gut” has ripped open into a canyon. He reflects that the nauseating pain is all in his brain. He pushes through it, knowing he has to help Hassan, and drags himself up on the Archduke’s obelisk to look around. TOC is gone. Lindsey is tending to Hassan with her first-aid kit. Colin turns back to the obelisk. He realizes his glasses are gone again, and the letters on the obelisk appear jumbled. He anagrams and says, “That’s a hell of a coincidence.” Hassan notices that he is awake. Lindsey rushes over, thanks him for defending her honor, and asks where TOC hurt Colin. “In the brain,” he says.
Colin’s commitment to helping Hassan further shows that Colin has already become less self-centered than he used to be. The way Colin stares at the obelisk without his glasses and seems to have an idea based on the anagram he creates from his letters is significant. Whereas the last time Colin lost his glasses, it gave him the idea that he was too nearsighted and needed to look ahead to the future, now he seems to discover that if he looks right in front of him, there may be new ideas to discover.
Themes
Achievement and Mortality Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
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