Colin uses the name “Satan’s Hearse” to refer to his Oldsmobile, in which he and Hassan take their road trip. The car itself is not especially remarkable, except that it carries Colin and Hassan to rural Tennessee on their soul-searching road trip. There is a sense in which Colin and Hassan might simply think the name sounds cool and over-the-top, but there is no doubt that some of their deeper anxieties are also wrapped up in the name of the car. The name suggests that Colin feels he is always driving toward his own funeral. His main motivation for going on the road trip is the feeling that he is aging and has yet to make anything of himself, either through his genius or through his love life, and even though he is young, death threatens to cut off his chance to prove himself.
The idea that the hearse belongs to Satan also suggests that Colin feels like Satan, a fallen angel and the lord of hell, when he is driving the car out of town. The notion of Colin as a fallen angel is in line with the fact that he feels he is disappointing his parents for the first time by taking the road trip. It also demonstrates his overblown sense of the catastrophe his failures stand to wreak upon the world. As for Hassan, his perpetual desire to drive the Hearse shows that he wants to occupy Colin’s position as a fallen angel bound for hell. Hassan feels that he lives a comparatively unremarkable life, never having done anything to create a pedestal from which to fall.
Having driven the Hearse to what turns out to be the false grave of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Colin realizes that death might not be the simple looming ending he thought it was. The Archduke might not truly be buried in Gutshot, Tennessee, but enough people think he is that the story of his grave there becomes a kind of truth that supersedes the actual circumstances of his death and burial. Death might happen at any point, but stories are always being created along the way, and have the potential to long outlast death. When Colin realizes that stories are the real way to the “mattering” he has been after his whole life, he also realizes that he must live life in order to make memories that can turn into stories. In the final scene of the novel, Colin has put down his notebook, in which he does math to try to predict his future, choosing instead to go out to lunch with his friends. The novel closes with Colin and Hassan, joined by Lindsey, using the Hearse to drive willingly into the unknown to find an unexplored lunch destination. Colin understands that eventually he will die, but he now feels that if he is to fulfill his potential before that time comes, he should make the most of the time he has. This new endeavor starts with the simple act of experiencing whatever the afternoon has in store.
Satan’s Hearse Quotes in An Abundance of Katherines
Driving was a kind of thinking, the only kind he could then tolerate. But still the thought lurked out there, just beyond the reach of his headlights: he’d been dumped. By a girl named Katherine. For the nineteenth time.
As the staggered lines rushed past him, he thought about the space between what we remember and what happened, the space between what we predict and what will happen. And in that space, Colin thought, there was room enough to reinvent himself – room enough to make himself into something other than a prodigy, to remake his story better and different – room enough to be reborn again and again….There was room enough to be anyone – anyone except whom he’d already been, for if Colin had learned one thing from Gutshot, it’s that you can’t stop the future from coming. And for the first time in his life, he smiled thinking about the always-coming infinite future stretching out before him.