Holes

Holes

by

Louis Sachar

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Miss Katherine/Kissin' Kate Barlow Character Analysis

In 1880s Green Lake, Miss Katherine was the town’s beloved schoolteacher. She was beautiful, charming, and an exceptional educator, and so she was beloved by children, parents, and her adult students alike. She also won a special prize at the Fourth of July picnic every year for her spiced peaches. The town expected her to marry Trout Walker, the wealthiest bachelor, but Miss Katherine turned down his advances. Miss Katherine was also friends with Sam, the African-American onion seller. He fixed the schoolhouse over the course of a semester, and at the end, Miss Katherine and Sam discovered that they'd fallen in love. They kissed in the rain one night not long after. Miss Katherine was distraught the next day when Trout Walker led a mob to torch the schoolhouse, and the sheriff refused to do anything about it. She was shocked and disgusted when the sheriff asked for a kiss, and she tried to help Sam escape. Trout Walker shot Sam and rescued her. Three days later, Miss Katherine killed the sheriff and kissed him. She spent the next twenty years as Kissin' Kate Barlow, one of the most feared outlaws in the west. During those twenty years, she attacked a stagecoach carrying the first Stanley Yelnats and stole his suitcase full of valuable bonds and promissory notes, which she buried in Green Lake (which was, by then, a ghost town). Trout Walker came for her treasure twenty years after Sam's death and she died laughing after refusing to tell him where she buried the first Stanley's suitcase. In the present day, Zero survives in the desert by eating her canned spiced peaches, which survived for over 100 years in Sam's boat on the dried-up lake.

Miss Katherine/Kissin' Kate Barlow Quotes in Holes

The Holes quotes below are all either spoken by Miss Katherine/Kissin' Kate Barlow or refer to Miss Katherine/Kissin' Kate Barlow. 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:
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Holes published in 1998.
Part 1, Chapter 23 Quotes

A lot of men in town were not educated. This didn't bother Miss Katherine. She knew they'd spent most of their lives working on farms and ranches and hadn't had much schooling. That was why she was there—to teach them.

But Trout didn't want to learn. He seemed to be proud of his stupidity.

Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

Everyone in town had seen—and heard—the Walkers' new boat. It made a horrible loud noise and spewed ugly black smoke all over the beautiful lake.

Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1, Chapter 26 Quotes

Miss Katherine jerked her hand free. As she hurried to the door, she heard the sheriff say, "The law will punish Sam. And God will punish you."

Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:

These are the facts:

The Walker boat smashed into Sam's boat. Sam was shot and killed in the water. Katherine Barlow was rescued against her wishes. When they returned to the shore, she saw Mary Lou's body lying on the ground. The donkey had been shot in the head.

That all happened one hundred and ten years ago. Since then, not one drop of rain has fallen on Green Lake.

You make the decision: Whom did God punish?

Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
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Miss Katherine/Kissin' Kate Barlow Character Timeline in Holes

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Katherine/Kissin' Kate Barlow appears in Holes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...as the first Stanley made a fortune in the stock market. However, the bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow robbed him as he tried to move to California. Stanley thinks this is kind... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 21
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...with Mr. Sir alone. He thinks about the first Stanley, who was robbed by Kissin' Kate Barlow and left in the desert. Stanley reasons their situations aren't so different. When two... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 22
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...Suddenly, Stanley realizes it's half of a lipstick container and wonders if KB might be Kate Barlow. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 23
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...would host a picnic and award prizes for the best peach pies and jams. Miss Katherine Barlow always won a special prize for her delicious spiced peaches. She was the only... (full context)
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...that made his feet smell like dead fish. Most people in Green Lake expected Miss Katherine to marry Trout Walker, as his family was the wealthiest in the area. However, Trout... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 25
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
When Katherine bought onions, she often bought one for Mary Lou, as well. One afternoon, Katherine lamented... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Katherine, however, was sad, as she had nothing else for Sam to fix. One afternoon as... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 26
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...like wildfire through Green Lake, and no children showed up for school the next day. Katherine wondered if she'd gotten her days mixed up when, suddenly, a mob led by Trout... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The sheriff, drinking whiskey, greeted Katherine pleasantly and told her to calm down. She began to tell him about Trout Walker's... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Katherine found Sam and told him they needed to leave. Sam agreed to leave Mary Lou... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 28
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Kate Barlow returned to Green Lake twenty years after Sam's death. It was a ghost town... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Kate noticed the woman with Trout as one of her former students, Linda. She'd been a... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Linda and Trout pulled Kate out of bed in her pajamas, leaving her boots by the bed. They tied her... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 30
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
...looks for God's Thumb in the distance. He realizes that he's probably close to where Kate Barlow robbed the first Stanley. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 42
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...crazy but also thinks that it'd be easier if he and Zero could find Kissin' Kate Barlow's treasure to fund their adventure. He wakes Zero up and asks if he wants... (full context)