In the Lake of the Woods

In the Lake of the Woods

Kathleen “Kathy” Terese Wade Character Analysis

The wife of John Wade, whose mysterious disappearance while she and her husband are at Lake of the Woods is the subject of the novel. Kathy first meets John while they’re both college students, and stays in touch with John during his time as a soldier in Vietnam. Throughout the book, we hear various analyses of Kathy and her relationship with John from a variety of sources. One common observation about Kathy is that she loves John, and considers it her duty to take care of him after he returns home from Vietnam, traumatized by the war. It’s often implied that Kathy enjoys John’s deception and manipulation, whereas other people find it frightening. When John embarks on a career as a politician, Kathy works in the admissions department of the University of Minnesota, but finds her duties as a politician’s wife to be irritating. It’s left largely up to reader how to interpret Kathy—whether, for instance, we should see her as a deceptive, unfaithful wife, or a warm, loving woman who never gave up on John even after evidence of his wrongdoing came to light. Further, it is never made clear whether she was murdered or purposely ran away and disappeared.

Kathleen “Kathy” Terese Wade Quotes in In the Lake of the Woods

The In the Lake of the Woods quotes below are all either spoken by Kathleen “Kathy” Terese Wade or refer to Kathleen “Kathy” Terese Wade. 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:
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of In the Lake of the Woods published in 1995.
Chapter 10 Quotes

They would live in perfect knowledge, all things visible, all things invisible, no wires or strings, just that large dark world where one plus one would always come to zero.

Related Characters: John Herman Wade (speaker), Kathleen “Kathy” Terese Wade
Related Symbols: One Plus One Equals Zero / The Two Snakes
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other In the Lake of the Woods quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 18 Quotes

Humming to herself, Kathy adjusted the tiller and began planning a dinner menu, two big steaks and salad and cold beer, imagining how she’d describe everything that was happening out here. Get some sympathy for herself. Get his attention for a change.
The idea gave her comfort. She could almost picture a happy ending.

Related Characters: Kathleen “Kathy” Terese Wade (speaker)
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 22 Quotes

All you could do, he’d said, was open yourself up like a window and wait for fortune to blow in. And then they’d talked about stuck windows. Tony suggested that she unstick herself. So she’d shrugged and said she had tried it once but the unsticking hadn’t gone well.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Kathleen “Kathy” Terese Wade, Anthony “Tony” L. Carbo
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure d

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquLorem Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut

Chapter 29 Quotes

And here in a corner of John Wade’s imagination, where things neither live nor die, Kathy stares up at him from beneath the surface of the silvered lake. Her eyes are brilliant green, her expression alert. Se tries to speak, but can’t. She belongs to the angle. Not quite present, not quite gone, she swims in the blending twilight of in between.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), John Herman Wade, Kathleen “Kathy” Terese Wade
Related Symbols: The Lake
Page Number: 288
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in v

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisLorem ipLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire Lake of the Woods LitChart as a printable PDF.
In the lake of the woods.pdf.medium

Kathleen “Kathy” Terese Wade Character Timeline in In the Lake of the Woods

The timeline below shows where the character Kathleen “Kathy” Terese Wade appears in In the Lake of the Woods. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: How Unhappy They Were
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The two characters think of places to travel. One character, whose name is Kathy, says that she wants to visit Verona, Italy. She and the other character talk about... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
After six nights in Lake of the Woods, Kathy tells her companion, a man, that things aren’t that bad—together, they can make them better.... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The other character, John Wade, tries to be positive as Kathy talks about her plans. He closes his eyes and pictures a huge mountain crushing him.... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Kathy asks John about having babies. She suggests that she’s too old, but John assures her... (full context)
Chapter 2: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
...Admissions at the University of Minnesota. A colleague, Bethany Kee, says that she’s sure that Kathy didn’t drown, because she was an excellent swimmer. (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
There are more quotes. Bethany guesses that Kathy is on a bus somewhere, since she didn’t want to stay married to a “creep”... (full context)
Chapter 4: What He Remembered
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
On the seventh day that John and Kathy spend at Lake of the Woods, John remembers, nothing much happens. They laugh and chat... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...John speaks to others later on, he cannot remember every detail of his day with Kathy. He does recall, however, that around noon they went to swim in the lake. As... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
For the rest of the afternoon, Kathy does crosswords and John organizes bills. Feeling “electricity in his blood,” John twice tries to... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...napped, or had a drink. He does, however, remember driving into the nearest town with Kathy. During this drive, he feels a pressure in his ears, as if he’s underwater. He... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
John and Kathy take their mail, go grocery shopping, and then go to a Mini-Mart. Kathy reads her... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Back in their cottage, John and Kathy have some food and listen to music. At 8 pm, they walk around outside and... (full context)
Chapter 5: Hypothesis
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
This chapter is structured as a “hypothesis.” The first part of the hypothesis is that Kathy has a secret lover. During her seventh day at the cottage with John, Kathy may... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Perhaps Kathy couldn’t bear to tell John about her secret lover. She may have staged her own... (full context)
Chapter 6: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...for hours, and a list of childish tricks he owned as a child. Patricia Hood, Kathy’s sister, says that Kathy was sometimes scared of John. (full context)
Chapter 7: The Nature of Marriage
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
John meets Kathy in 1966, when he’s a senior at the University of Minnesota, and Kathy is a... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
John continues spying on Kathy: he watched when she buys his birthday present, and when she buys her first diaphragm.... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...His challenge during the war, he understands, is to stay sane. He sends letters to Kathy, and she writes him back. While most of their correspondence is cheery, Kathy worries that... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...injured, even when an explosive lands near him. John encourages this mystique. He writes to Kathy that he’s the company “witch doctor.” He also writes, “They actually believe in this shit.”... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
John worries that Kathy is growing distant. In a letter she sends him, she describes the fun she’s been... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
John returns to the United States in 1969. He calls Kathy, but hangs up before she can answer. During a layover between his flight home, he... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The night he sees Kathy, John sleeps in a hotel and thinks about his father’s funeral. He remembers wanting to... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
John watches as Kathy leaves her dorm and makes a phone call from a payphone. He waits outside her... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
When John and Kathy get married, they promise to be true to one another, and move into an apartment... (full context)
Chapter 8: How the Night Passed
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
This chapter discusses John’s behavior on the night before he supposedly discovered that Kathy was missing. He wakes up in the night, twice. On the second occasion, he says,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
...kettle again with water for it to boil. He then walks to the bedroom, where Kathy is sleeping. (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
In the days following Kathy’s disappearance, John will think of what he should have done that night. He should have... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
...nightmare about electric eels and boiling water. The next morning, he woke to find that Kathy wasn’t there. When he realized this, he rolled over and went back to sleep. (full context)
Chapter 9: Hypothesis
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The chapter is structured around another hypothesis for Kathy’s disappearance: Kathy heard John walking around in the night and got scared. Thus, she left... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Staring into the cottage from outside, Kathy might have seen John, yelling and laughing and looking completely unlike the man she thought... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Kathy might have thought about everything that had happened to John lately. In August and September,... (full context)
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
As Kathy watched her husband that night near Lake of the Woods, she might have gone inside... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Nature of Love
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
“One evening,” while John is still in the midst of his political career, John and Kathy are at a political party. At this point, they have been married for almost seven... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
In college, John and Kathy often go to a bar called The Bottle Top. One night, John dares Kathy to... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Before John and Kathy can marry, John fights in Vietnam. He sends Kathy letters in which he talks about... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...State Senate. He celebrates by hosting a small party, and getting a hotel suite with Kathy. In the suite, he and Kathy sing “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, and make love. (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
As an adult, before he’s found political success, John goes on walks with Kathy and discusses buying a house. Kathy wants to buy a blue Victorian-style house she’s seen,... (full context)
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...lieutenant governor of Minnesota. He is 37 at the time. At the time, he and Kathy have begun arguing, but he’s proud to stand next to Kathy and take the oath... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
As an adult, John thinks that he wants to crawl inside Kathy’s belly. He’s afraid of losing her, and spies on her, following her to the drug... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
John knows that he is sick. He tries to tell Kathy about his sickness. As they prepare dinner, he says that he’s afraid to look at... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
After John returns from Vietnam, Kathy doesn’t insist that John talk to a psychiatrist. At times, though, John yells out in... (full context)
Chapter 11: What He Did Next
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The chapter describes John’s behavior the day he allegedly discovers that Kathy is missing. John wakes up late, and by the time he’s showered and brewed coffee,... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...up the dead houseplants he killed last night. He rehearses an explanation he’ll give to Kathy when she returns. He does laundry, and goes through bank statements. Around one thirty, he... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...light nap, thinking that he hears something moving in the room. He thinks he feels Kathy’s fingertips touching his eyelids, and hears her saying, “So stupid. You could’ve tried me.” (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
...has a drink and walks to the dock. He begins to sense that something isn’t right—Kathy has been gone for a long time. He imagines that she might have fallen and... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The night of the day Kathy disappears, John takes a shower and drinks the rest of his vodka. He begins drinking... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...sees that the boat is gone—“as it had to be.” He thinks that he and Kathy have been married almost 17 years, and now a huge part of his life is... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...in her mid-fifties. She gives John water to sober him up, and assures him that Kathy is fine. John repeats that their boat is gone, but Ruth says this isn’t unusual—even... (full context)
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
...Ruth to call Vinny Pearson at the Mini-Mart (which happens to be where John and Kathy had their argument earlier). He makes a few jokes about John’s political career, calling John... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...cottage in Lake of the Woods for two weeks. In the car, John repeats that Kathy has taken the boat. Claude responds that this doesn’t mean anything. He calls John “Senator”... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
...sink. Claude is surprised at this, and points out that it’s made it impossible for Kathy to call John that day. He plugs the phone in and calls Ruth; he says... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Claude and John sit and talk—it’s almost 2 am. John pictures Kathy at the bottom of the lake with seaweed in her hair. Claude asks John if... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
John and Claude continue to talk. Claude asks John if John and Kathy had been fighting; John insists that they hadn’t. Claude continues to call John a senator,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...her, and tells John that Ruth has been calling various local numbers and hasn’t reached Kathy yet. He notices the flowerpots John has been cleaning out, and asks what happened. John... (full context)
Chapter 12: Evidence
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Patricia claims that John thought of himself as Sorcerer long after Vietnam, and that Kathy thought of him as Sorcerer, too—she wants him to pull off a miracle. The author... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...a charmer, and Ruth Rasmussen calls him a nice, polite man. Bethany Lee claims that Kathy knew about John’s secrets, but also that Kathy wanted to be a part of them.... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...to distract the audience from the real source of his trick. In Vietnam, John sends Kathy a letter about having a strange infection in his body. He signs the letter “Sorcerer.” (full context)
Chapter 13: The Nature of the Beast
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
On March 15, John receives a letter from Kathy. Kathy writes that John will have to treat her like a human being when he... (full context)
Chapter 14: Hypothesis
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The narrator suggests that Kathy might have drowned in a boating accident. She might have awoken early in the morning... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
After kissing John, Kathy may have showered and gotten dressed. She would have done some crossword puzzles while she... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
As she thought about John’s career, perhaps Kathy smelled the odor of dead plants and soil from the trash. As she became conscious... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Alone in the boat, Kathy may have contemplated asking John about Harmon. Perhaps while she steered the boat around nearby... (full context)
Chapter 15: What the Questions Were
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
After Kathy’s disappearance, the County Sheriff Art Lux flies in from Baudette, a town near Lake of... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Lux tells John that they haven’t found Kathy, and that it may take a while to do so, since the lake is enormous.... (full context)
Lux continues to ask John questions. He asks John for basic information about Kathy—age, height, etc. He also asks John for a picture of Kathy, and when John asks,... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Art asks John what time he woke up the day he found Kathy missing (yesterday). Upon further question, John says that he last saw Kathy around midnight, when... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Lux asks John if he and Kathy had argued, and mentions John’s campaign, and the recent news about John. Lux adds that... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...Lux challenges John to explain the dead houseplants in his sink—John, getting annoyed, says that Kathy is missing, and everything else is “bullshit.” Lux tells John that John is an important... (full context)
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...thinks that he is feeling great “sorrow.” He remembers saying, “Kill Jesus” the night before Kathy disappeared, and looking at her and feeling great love and tenderness. He also remembers carrying... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Nature of Politics
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...no choice—his experiences at Thuan Yen make him lose touch with himself. He writes to Kathy that he can’t explain his decision other than to say that it’s personal. Kathy responds... (full context)
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
...November of 1969, John returns to the United States, having won many medals. He marries Kathy five months later, and Kathy says that she knows they’ll be happy. He goes to... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...idea of the woman owing John anything. As he explains all this, Tony looks at Kathy, but mutters that it’s only a metaphor. (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Because John is a state senator, his life with Kathy is sometimes difficult. They are happy, but only because they’re thinking of the future—in the... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
In July 1982, shortly after John becomes lieutanent governor, Kathy tells John that she is pregnant. John and Kathy have many conversations about this, and... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
A short time later, John casually tells Kathy that they have done the right thing. Kathy insists that all she wanted was a... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
After John announces his candidacy, he, Kathy, and Tony have dinner. Kathy mentions that John’s campaign seems a little “empty.” When she... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...that it’s probably better to focus on the election and then turn to the issues. Kathy objects, saying that John will never get to the issues, since there will always be... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
While Kathy is in the bathroom, Tony tells John she’s a “yummy specimen,” and points out that... (full context)
Chapter 18: Hypothesis
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The chapter is another hypothesis about how Kathy disappeared, similar to the one mentioned in Chapter 14. Kathy might have left John to... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
It’s possible that Kathy made a small miscalculation on her way to Buckete Island, and ended up riding north... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
As Kathy drove back to John’s cottage, the narrator speculates, she might have felt curiously fearless. Perhaps... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
As she went south—or what she clumsily approximated as south—Kathy may have been thinking about Harmon, a dentist she’d once loved, and his thick fingers... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Instead of crying at the fact of being lost, Kathy probably would have decided to come ashore and wait for John to find her. Perhaps... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
As Kathy walked ashore, the narrator suggests, she may have been thinking of the night long ago... (full context)
Chapter 19: What Was Found
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
By the morning of September 21, two days after John discovers Kathy missing, there are almost a hundred volunteers searching the lake for Kathy, along with aircraft,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Around noon that day, Kathy’s sister calls John from International Falls and tells him that she needs to be picked... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...doesn’t have much to report, except that a huge number of people are looking for Kathy. He mentions that he voted for John, and, when John says that Pat is coming... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...At 1:15 pm, Pat arrives by floatplane. She looks like a taller, healthier version of Kathy. They kiss, a little awkwardly, and John tells her that there’s been no sign of... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...While she does so, John tries to imagine Lux calling him with good news, or Kathy walking into the room. His fantasies don’t help at all. Pat walks out of the... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
John tells Pat about Kathy’s health, the boat, and the search. For half an hour, he explains all this: Kathy... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...then turn into the forest toward the fire tower. As they walk, John thinks that Kathy walked the trail every day that she and John were by Lake of the Woods.... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Pat tells John that Kathy was a very good person, and deeply in love with John. John replies that he... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Pat tells John that Kathy hated being a politician’s life. John dismisses this suggestion, and tells Pat that he and... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...he wants a boat tomorrow, so that he can explore the lake and look for Kathy himself. Claude tells John that he’ll provide one at 6:30 am, and that he wants... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...flowers. This in turn reminds him of the iron teakettle he was carrying the night Kathy disappeared, and the fact that he said “Kill Jesus.” He remembers going back to his... (full context)
Chapter 20: Evidence
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...statistics related to John. The first is from Ruth Rasmussen, who claims that John and Kathy were like onions: no matter how much one peeled, one found more layers. Vinny Pearson... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...Vietnam, to the point where John himself barely remembered them, and no one else, including Kathy and Tony himself, thought they existed. John and Kathy were a happy couple, Tony reports,... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Nature of the Spirit
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...John delivers a brief concession speech, thinking privately that his career is over. John and Kathy return to their hotel and sit, naked, listening to traffic. Later on, Tony stops by... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
...village is a terrible thing to waste.” Tony and John drink a final toast while Kathy goes to the bathroom. Tony guesses that she’s angry at Tony’s “betrayal.” He also tells... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
...they wouldn’t. Privately, Sorcerer makes himself forget what he’s seen and done. He thinks about Kathy and tells himself that he’s a decent person. (full context)
Chapter 22: Hypothesis
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The chapter contains another hypothesis for Kathy’s disappearance, resuming the morning after Kathy went ashore with her boat, as described in Chapter... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Kathy gets back in her boat and refuels it, using the remainder of the gasoline left... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Kathy begins riding the boat. She notices a small island and pictures a huge casino, shaped... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
At the casino, John says, half-jokingly, that he’d have to “bomb the place” to get Kathy to leave the table. Kathy replies that this “doesn’t seem like you.” Tony observes that... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
After they cash out, Kathy and Tony sit alone at a bar, drinking. Kathy complains to Tony that John has... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Tony and Kathy continue to talk at the bar. Tony points out that John’s career is a lot... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Back in Lake of the Woods, Kathy feels cold, and wishes she were back on the island with her fire. She thinks... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Kathy remembers what else happened the night she and Tony got drinks in Las Vegas. Tony... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Tony and Kathy spent more time gambling, and then went up to their hotel rooms. Tony said he’d... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Kathy walked into her hotel room and saw John, clearly pretending to sleep. Kathy thought about... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
As Kathy watched John lying in bed, seemingly asleep, she heard him yell out. She did not... (full context)
Chapter 23: Where They Looked
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...Claude’s large Chris-Craft boat into Lake of the Woods so that they can look for Kathy themselves. As John pushes, he feels a sense of health and clarity that isn’t exactly... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...their journey will be based on pure luck and intuition—there’s no scientific way to trace Kathy’s trail. Pat points to a string of nearby islands and suggests that they begin by... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...signs of life. They see nothing. John begins to wonder what they’ll eventually find of Kathy. He wonders how much of Kathy will have survived. (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
...sang in Vietnam in middle of a monsoon. He remembers other things: playing around with Kathy in their old apartment, the old man with the hoe, PFC Weatherby, singing Sinatra with... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
The three continue searching for Kathy on small islands in Lake of the Woods. The islands are very flat, and don’t... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...Claude tie up Claude’s boat near the Angle Inlet boatyard. They have been searching for Kathy all day, and found nothing. On the inlet, they see a group of men sitting... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...that John is looking “Fit as a fiddle,” after three days of not searching for Kathy. Lux encourages John and Vincent to make up, but John calls Vincent “albino,” which angers... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...weather and the water. Claude mentions that the men are “water pros,” and will dig Kathy up for John. (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
The next day, John, Pat, and Claude go out on the lake to look for Kathy, and they continue looking for the next two weeks. On October 8, the police begin... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
John asks Claude about obtaining a second boat, so that John can look for Kathy on his own while Claude and Pat continue their usual search. Claude immediately refuses to... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
At dusk, John removes his clothes and jumps into the lake, where, he thinks, Kathy is. He closes his eyes as he dives in, and is surprised to find that... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...Lux calls the cottage. After speaking to Pat, he tells John that the search for Kathy is being discontinued due to paperwork and red tape. John says that Lux is giving... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...to John that the police want to look around John’s cottage, on the chance that Kathy is buried there. Claude points out that even if the police don’t find anything buried,... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Claude suggests that John hasn’t been crying for Kathy because there’s no use crying. Claude also suggests that John should leave Lake of the... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...day, John, Claude, and Pat go out once again on the boat to look for Kathy. Pat refuses to look at John. Around 3 pm, Claude pulls into a harbor, and... (full context)
Chapter 24: Hypothesis
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
In this hypothesis about Kathy’s disappearance, the narrator suggests that Kathy had already left John in the summer of 1983,... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Kathy’s affair with Harmon began almost by chance, and lasted only four months. As she rides... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
After visiting Harmon in Boston, Kathy flew back to Minneapolis to see John. She drank a few martinis on her flight,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
As John and Kathy talked about her trip to Boston, Kathy apologized for the storm that made her fly... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
As Kathy boats through Lake of the Woods, preparing to kill herself, perhaps she thought more about... (full context)
Chapter 25: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Ruth Rasmussen insists that John didn’t kill Kathy, because he loved her—just like Claude loves Ruth. Lux insists that he doesn’t make guesses.... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Patricia says that Kathy tried “too hard” with John, while Patricia herself never gave John a chance. Bethany Kee... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...real name, but can’t, noting that Sorcerer giggled after the Vietnamese massacres. Patricia admits that Kathy wasn’t perfect, considering the affair she had with “that dentist,” who she refuses to name. (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...story about his behavior in Vietnam broke, Minnesota wasn’t forgiving at all. Patricia recalls that Kathy had her own problems. There follows a series of quotes about politicians’ wives, such at... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...The narrator has looked over countless notes and records and never solved the mystery of Kathy’s disappearance. Even though he’ll never solve the mystery, he continues to look—the mystery itself is... (full context)
Chapter 26: The Nature of the Dark
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
...in the ditch. In November 1968, he extends his tour for an extra year, telling Kathy that it’s a personal choice he’s unable to explain. (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
When he lands in the United States in Seattle, John calls Kathy, but hangs up after two rings. When he’s in a plane flying back to Minneapolis,... (full context)
Chapter 27: Hypothesis
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
In this hypothesis about how Kathy disappeared, John wakes up late at night, sweating. He remembers how the news of his... (full context)
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...After the second kettle of water is boiling, he takes it to the bedroom, where Kathy is sleeping. (full context)
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
As John stands over Kathy, he tips the teakettle forward. Kathy eyes open slightly as he does so, and she... (full context)
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The narrator suggests that John wraps Kathy in a sheet and carries her to the dock. He is very gentle, even loving,... (full context)
Chapter 28: How He Went Away
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
As he rides north, John remembers talking to Kathy about his actions at Thuan Yen. He told her “everything he could tell,” though the... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...sees John as being sucked down into a funnel. Claude offers his theory of what happened—Kathy went out in her boat and got lost. He notes that there is a radio... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...means. Perhaps the point is for John to feel the same pain and sadness that Kathy felt. (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
...to drunkenly speak into his radio. He conducts a “talk show” with himself, noting that Kathy was “what I had,” but adding that she used to chase him around the house... (full context)
Chapter 29: The Nature of the Angles
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The narrator notes that Kathy Wade, lying at the bottom of the lake, watches fish swimming. In Lake of the... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...to white to blue. It is in this place, at least in John’s imagination, that Kathy lies, staring up from beneath the water and trying to speak. She cannot speak—she isn’t... (full context)
Chapter 30: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...who says that everyone who worked in admissions at the University of Minnesota talked about Kathy’s disappearance constantly. No one could think of any signs that Kathy was unhappy in any... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Bethany remembers one clue in Kathy’s disappearance: when Bethany asked Kathy when she’d come back from Lake of the Woods, Kathy... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Arthur Lux agrees with Vincent that something doesn’t add up about Kathy disappearance. He says that John is wrong: one plus one never equals zero. Ruth Rasmussen... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Patricia remembers how Kathy heard about John’s actions in Thuan Yen. After reading about it, she waited for John... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...by radio for a while after he left the cottage. Ruth emphasizes that John and Kathy are gone, and says that the narrator should get back to his own life. A... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...people speculate on where John is now. Ruth is optimistic: she believes that John and Kathy are together in Hudson Bay, in Canada, since they are still in love, just like... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Three more people guess what became of John and Kathy. Bethany notes that Kathy seemed happy and carefree after the end of the election, as... (full context)
Chapter 31: Hypothesis
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
The narrator offers one last hypothesis for what happened to John and Kathy. After a book of pessimism and cynicism, the narrator notes, it’s time to offer up... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...proper way to end his story. One could believe that John poured boiling water on Kathy and disposed of the body. This is an aesthetic question—perhaps this gruesome scene is wrong... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Perhaps, the narrator suggests, John rejoined Kathy in Buckete Island or Massacre Island. They reunited, and sat around a fire together, thinking... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...there is no solution to a mystery as big as the mystery of John and Kathy. The narrator adds that everyone has secrets, and everyone performs vanishing tricks. (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...speaks to his father, asking for his love and respect. He also calls out for Kathy, asking where she is. He never admits knowing where Kathy is. Perhaps this is the... (full context)