Sharp Objects

by

Gillian Flynn

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Sharp Objects can help.
John Keene is Natalie Keene’s older brother, who is a senior in high school. An emotional teenage boy, John Keene is soon singled out as a suspect in Natalie’s murder, and becomes something of a pariah throughout Wind Gap. As rumors that John and Natalie were close in an “unhealthy” way and it is revealed that John has no alibi for the night of Natalie’s murder, pressure mounts, and John becomes even more emotional and withdrawn. As Camille’s suspicions about Adora intensify, she seeks solace at a bar on the outskirts of town, and when she finds a drunken John Keene there, he begs her to believe that he had nothing to do with Natalie’s murder. The two then go to a motel and sleep together; John Keene is the first man to ever see Camille’s scars, but he does not recoil at the sight of them and instead allows Camille to feel seen, accepted, and even “exorcised.”
Get the entire Sharp Objects LitChart as a printable PDF.
Sharp Objects PDF

John Keene Character Timeline in Sharp Objects

The timeline below shows where the character John Keene appears in Sharp Objects. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...who “he” is, Amma replies, “Natalie’s brother.” One of the other girls, Jodes, adds that John Keene has “a little-girl thing.” The girls saunter off, bumping past Camille, who senses in... (full context)
Chapter 6
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...who always stares at her breasts in the grocery store, is responsible. Another mentions that John Keene has moved out of his parents’ house and into a carriage house in the... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...remembering what Amma and her friends told her the other day, asks the women if John Keene really could be responsible—she mentions that she heard some gossip from some local teens.... (full context)
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...for the crimes—he can’t picture a woman “doing all…that to a baby.” Bob suggests that John Keene, who has no alibi, might be guilty, and confirms that others in Wind Gap... (full context)
Chapter 8
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...red convertible and calls out to Camille by name. The girl introduces herself as Meredith Wheeler—John Keene’s girlfriend—and says she knows who Camille is, though she was “just a little goofball”... (full context)
Chapter 9
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...doorbell rings, and when she peers through the front door, she sees Meredith Wheeler and John Keene standing outside. (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...dressed in a cheerleading uniform, and speaks in “wheedling tone[s]” as she introduces Camille to John—a beautiful, “almost androgynous” teen with thick black hair and full lips. Camille asks the two... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille makes some sweet tea and then sits down with Meredith and John. She tells John that all she wants is to get a fuller picture of Natalie,... (full context)
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
As Camille begins asking John questions about Natalie, Meredith keeps interrupting to offer her two cents. When John says that... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
When Camille asks John about his lack of an alibi—he was out driving around town, he says, on the... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Switching the subject, Camille asks about Natalie’s violence back in Philadelphia. John admits that Natalie—a little girl with a temper—attacked a classmate up north with scissors. Natalie... (full context)
Chapter 10
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille’s most recent article, featuring extensive quotes from John Keene and a focus on James Capisi’s overlooked testimony, goes to print. The morning the... (full context)
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...for the rest of the afternoon, discussing Ann and Natalie’s murders. When Camille asks if John Keene is a suspect, Richard confirms that he fits the profile: plus, he says, John... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...the pool. Camille hides herself and watches Amma rub sunscreen lasciviously over her body while John Keene, sitting in the shade at the other end of the pool, watches her. When... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...her presence and enters the pool area with a hello. She asks for Meredith, and John says she’s gone to the store to buy sugar. Camille asks John, quietly, how he’s... (full context)
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...really ready, Camille starts her tape recorder and asks about the gossip around town concerning John, and why people might think he’s responsible for the murders. Meredith says she believes John... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille calls Meredith out for lying, but Meredith confesses that John would hate her if she told Camille the truth. Meredith attempts to bargain with Camille... (full context)
Chapter 12
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...in bed after sex, Richard and Camille continue discussing the case. Richard says he thinks John Keene is the murderer—he was close to Natalie in an “unhealthy way” and has no... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...one of Wind Gap’s largest mansions, Camille is feeling loose and “game.” When Meredith and John Keene arrive shortly after their group, however, the party is infused with a scandalized, gossipy... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Amidst the whispers and jeers from their other classmates, Amma greets John with a syrupy-sweet “Hiiiii, murderer,” causing Camille to feel a rush of sympathy for the... (full context)
Chapter 14
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...bar at the edge of town, near the hog farm. There, she finds a clearly-intoxicated John Keene. When she asks how he’s doing, he replies that he’s afraid both that Meredith... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
John tells Camille she’s the only one who understands him, and asks her about her own... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
In the parking lot, John fumbles with his keys, but then realizes he is too drunk to drive. Camille, who... (full context)
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
John pulls Camille’s clothes off, and reads her scars word by word. He touches and kisses... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...the other side—he asks if Camille is inside and demands she open up. Camille and John begin dressing frantically. When Camille opens the door, Vickery is there—and so is Richard. As... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Camille drops John off at his parents’ house, and he tells her that she “saved” him. Camille tells... (full context)
Chapter 15
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Amma wonders dreamily whether John will be executed and sent to the electric chair. Adora replies that he’ll be given... (full context)
Epilogue
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille receives a letter from John Keene. In it, he writes that he suspected Amma all along, and moved into Meredith’s... (full context)