Transcendent Kingdom

by

Yaa Gyasi

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Katherine Character Analysis

Katherine is one of Gifty’s colleagues in the neuroscience program. She has taken time away from her psychiatric practice to get her Ph.D. because she is passionate about helping people for whom conventional and established therapies have failed. She is also vocal about being a woman in STEM and she openly confesses her ongoing conversation with her husband about when or whether to have a baby. Thus, unlike Gifty, Katherine can articulate the connection between her life and her current studies, is comfortable in her femininity, and doesn’t feel that an academic career path necessarily precludes familial intimacy. She takes Gifty under her wing as a friend, gently making herself available and baking Gifty a lot of tasty food once she learns about Gifty’s mother’s depression. It’s Katherine to whom Gifty finally confesses that she’s not okay when she learns to ask for help.

Katherine Quotes in Transcendent Kingdom

The Transcendent Kingdom quotes below are all either spoken by Katherine or refer to Katherine. 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:
Science and Religion Theme Icon
).
Chapter 50 Quotes

It took me many years to realize that it’s hard to live in this world. I don’t mean the mechanics of living, because for most of us, our hearts will beat, our lungs will take in oxygen, without us doing anything at all to tell them to. For most of us, mechanically, physically, it’s harder to die than it is to live. But still we try to die. We drive too fast down winding roads, we have sex with strangers without wearing protection, we drink, we use drugs. We try to squeeze a little more out of our lives. It’s natural to want to do that. But to be alive in the world, every day, as we are given more and more and more, as the nature of “what we can handle” changes and our methods for how we handle it change, too, that’s something of a miracle.

Related Characters: Gifty (speaker), Mother , Anne, Raymond, Katherine, Han
Page Number: 261
Explanation and Analysis:
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Transcendent Kingdom PDF

Katherine Character Timeline in Transcendent Kingdom

The timeline below shows where the character Katherine appears in Transcendent Kingdom. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
...One night, when she goes to a party at Han’s house, she approaches her colleague, Katherine. She’s wary around Katherine, whom she feels overshares. Katherine reminisces about her psychiatry practice, which... (full context)
Chapter 16
Self-Discovery, Identity, and Individuality Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
Gifty asks Katherine to lunch. Gifty arrives early and takes her food to sit outside in the sunshine.... (full context)
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
Katherine is 30 minutes late. There aren’t very many women in their department, and Gifty hasn’t... (full context)
Addiction, Depression, and Control Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
...the phone. She can’t commit her. But Gifty can’t bring herself to open up to Katherine. Instead, she says that she’s stressed about finishing her article, and Katherine reminds her to... (full context)
Chapter 38
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
About a week after their lunch at the Thai place, Gifty runs into Katherine in the sandwich shop. For a long time, Gifty has gone out of her way... (full context)
Self-Discovery, Identity, and Individuality Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
Gifty finds herself confessing her inadvertent year-long celibacy to Katherine. She is surprised she said anything, since she’s still timid on the subject thanks to... (full context)
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Self-Discovery, Identity, and Individuality Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
Katherine changes the topic, asking Gifty how she got into neuroscience. Thrown off guard, Gifty blurts... (full context)
Chapter 40
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
Katherine starts dropping off homemade foods—cookies, pies, bread—at Gifty’s office. Gifty realizes that she’s not ready... (full context)
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
One day, Han stops by Gifty’s office after Katherine dropped off a strawberry cake. He offers to get her something from the coffee shop,... (full context)
Chapter 44
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Addiction, Depression, and Control Theme Icon
When she returns to practice, Katherine’s patients will be looking for last resorts. Her research involves experimental vagus nerve stimulation, which... (full context)
Chapter 51
Self-Discovery, Identity, and Individuality Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
After many requests, Gifty allows Katherine to visit her home. She knows that she’ll have to ask for and accept help... (full context)
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Self-Discovery, Identity, and Individuality Theme Icon
...the subject, Gifty mentions her journal and shamefacedly confesses that she grew up evangelical. Although Katherine says it’s important and beautiful to believe in something, Gifty disagrees. She thinks that faith... (full context)
Self-Discovery, Identity, and Individuality Theme Icon
As Katherine leaves, she encourages Gifty to keep writing in her journal. (full context)
Chapter 52
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Self-Discovery, Identity, and Individuality Theme Icon
As Katherine leaves, Gifty checks on her mother, still unmoving in the bed. She goes to the... (full context)
Chapter 53
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
...a mixtape Raymond made for their six-month anniversary, shortly before they broke up. She avoided Katherine for as long as she could, but finally caved in and accepted a lunch invitation.... (full context)
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
Gifty tells Katherine that she and her mother are fine. Katherine replies that she’s not trying to psychoanalyze... (full context)
Chapter 54
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
...no idea where to look for her mother. She pulls out her phone and calls Katherine, who answers by asking if she’s okay. “No, I’m not okay,” she replies. And she... (full context)
Self-Discovery, Identity, and Individuality Theme Icon
Katherine drives over and she and Gifty begin to drive around the complex and the neighborhood... (full context)
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Self-Discovery, Identity, and Individuality Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
Katherine drives them home, where Gifty refuses her offer to stay. As Gifty’s fear dissipates, pity... (full context)