An Abundance of Katherines

by

John Green

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The Hole in Colin’s Gut Symbol Icon

When Colin was young, his father brought home a book about a circle with a missing piece. Colin did not understand the book as a metaphor at the time, but after Katherine XIX breaks up with him, he begins thinking obsessively about the hole in his gut where he is missing a piece Katherine took away with her. Throughout the novel, Colin decides that the hole will not be filled by the return of Katherine—nor by the completion of a project such as his Theorem to predict the course of romantic relationships. Rather, Colin realizes, he needs to fill the hole with things that really matter to him.

The hole is a fixation for Colin, but it also allows him to begin crafting stories about his life. The idea that there is a hole in his gut gives him an affinity with the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was shot in the gut. Colin also finds significance in the name of the town Gutshot, which derives from the days when prizefighting was closely regulated and had to be done only with shots to the gut. Were Colin not to think about the hole in his gut symbolically, he might not have searched for meaning in Gutshot and at the supposed grave of the Archduke. Although there might not have been anything overtly significant to Colin’s life in either of these places, his determination to spend time there causes them to become significant to him. The hole in his gut and his search for his missing piece thus leads to his character growth and sense of fulfillment by the end of the novel.

The Hole in Colin’s Gut Quotes in An Abundance of Katherines

The An Abundance of Katherines quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Hole in Colin’s Gut. 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:
Achievement and Mortality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Speak edition of An Abundance of Katherines published in 2012.
Chapter 1  Quotes

Crying adds something: crying is you, plus tears. But the feeling Colin had was some horrible opposite of crying. It was you, minus something.

Related Symbols: The Hole in Colin’s Gut
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

You’re a very special person. Colin would hear this a lot, and yet – somehow – he could never hear it enough.

Related Symbols: The Hole in Colin’s Gut
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

She tried to get out as quickly and painlessly as possible, but after she begged curfew, he began to cry. She held his head against her collarbone. And even though he felt pitiful and ridiculous, he didn’t want it to end, because he knew the absence of her would hurt more than any breakup ever could.

Related Symbols: The Hole in Colin’s Gut
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

The missing piece in his stomach hurt so much – and eventually he stopped thinking about the Theorem and wondered only how something that isn’t there can hurt you.

Related Characters: Colin Singleton, Hassan Harbish
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Hole in Colin’s Gut Symbol Timeline in An Abundance of Katherines

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Hole in Colin’s Gut appears in An Abundance of Katherines. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Achievement and Mortality Theme Icon
Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...on the highway. Driving is just distracting enough that it helps him ignore the gnawing hole in his belly. He also distracts himself by thinking of other holes in stomachs. In... (full context)
Chapter 5
Achievement and Mortality Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
...feeling that the Archduke’s grave will show him something about his missing piece and the hole in his gut even though he doesn’t believe in fate. (full context)
Achievement and Mortality Theme Icon
Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...was not a child prodigy anymore because he was not a child. He felt a twinge in his gut , which he reflects was the first sign of the piece about to go missing.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Achievement and Mortality Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...a piece taken out of his middle.” Colin determines that he will fill his own hole and do something to remain special, making people care about him. He will do so... (full context)
Chapter 8
Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...feels affection toward Hassan and feels like some medicine has momentarily been applied to the hole in his gut. Lindsey concedes to being dropped off at the store after they do... (full context)
Chapter 10
Achievement and Mortality Theme Icon
Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...questions so that he can focus on the Theorem. Eventually, he dwells only on the hole in his gut and how much it hurts. (full context)
Chapter 13
Self-Actualization Theme Icon
...the hair, pushes him against the wall, and presses into “the precise location of the hole in Colin’s gut.” He says he doesn’t want to fight Colin because Hassan would lose.... (full context)
Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...Colin reflects that although he has gotten a number of physical injuries and a gaping hole in his gut while in Gutshot, he likes the place. Lindsey, lying next to him,... (full context)
Chapter 15
Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...Lindsey now in her inability to identify what “I” means. He now has not one missing piece from his gut but, rather, thousands. He feels that there is something wrong with him that he needs... (full context)
Chapter 16
Achievement and Mortality Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 19
Achievement and Mortality Theme Icon
Self-Actualization Theme Icon
Plans, Change, and Growth Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...fix the Alpo dog food prank, and getting Katherine XIX back would not fill the hole in Colin’s gut. Lindsey says that maybe no girl will. Colin agrees and says that... (full context)