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Written by Mason Tabor
You're a very special person. Colin would hear this a lot, and yet--somehow--he could never hear it enough.
This quote points emphatically to a major character trait of Colin's, namely his struggle to find contentment with his status in life. He longs for a future where the expectations placed on him are justified and fulfilled, and that brings up a lot of angst and frustration in his identity. And yet, somehow he still thrives on being told he is special.
Colin's character is an exploration of the current culture where everyone is special and no one is. Details like this quote have an endearing ability to cast the resulting self-centeredness in a way that is nuanced and complex, that we are both the perpetrator and victim of our own isolation and narcissism.
Perhaps, then, Colin ought to have grown accustomed to it, to the rise and fall of relationships. Dating, after all, only ends one way: poorly. If you think about it, and Colin often did, all romantic relationships end in either (1) breakup, (2) divorce, or (3) death.
Another wonderful character enhancing insight, this passage allows us to see a witty, cynical view of romance--or perhaps with disenfranchisement and negativity. Colin has been broken up with by 18 girls in his young life and lacks clarity into all the demises. So he turns the focus on the abstract value of love in general. Although it offers a low view of romance, it establishes a nice, sweet tension in his character between his persistence and doubts. Doubts, which, no doubt, the reader likely also can relate to through their own frustrations with love and relationships.
In addition to other character qualities evident in Colin, this understanding of love also illustrates some less-than-obvious qualities concerning identity crises and relationships in tandem. For instance, whether it is beneficial to seek contentment in other people through romance when you are frustrated about your own identity and future.
"My Theorum will tell the story. Each graph with a beginning and a middle and an end."
"There's no romance in geometry," Lindsey answered. "Just you wait."
This interaction illustrates the poignant and tragic failure of math and reason in issues of love and personhood. That is, whether you can rationalize yourself through relationship failures and love. Lindsey argues for the complexity of people and love, whereas Colin wants desperately to frame his failed love-life in a way that is logical and understandable in his prodigious math mentality.
You can love someone so much, he thought. But you can never love people as much as you can miss them.
A terrifying prospect indeed, is that love is not as powerful a force, nor such a humanizing one as loss and tragedy. Underneath Colin's thoughts is the doubt that love is the right solution to his problem. He understands his propensity to ruin relationships, and somehow in that loss, he feels less alone and solipsistic, because loss draws his emotions onto someone else.
Underneath this comment is a fear that Colin will not be able to feel the same other-orientation that loss demands of him. That is, he wonders if he will ever be able to love as effectively during a relationship as he does after it.
But he just didn't get Hassan's apathy. What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable? How very odd, to believe God gave you life, and yet not think that life asks more of you than watching TV.
This quote discusses the nullifying effect of entertainment on young people today. Colin expresses a frustration with the passivity of his peers, who are content to just exist. Colin feels a higher calling on his life. To do something that justifies the gift of live to him. This is a very optimistic view for his character, and an inspiring detail. He feels like there is a calling on his life and a reason to do things.
"We're invisible. I've never been here with someone else. It's different being invisible with someone."
Lindsey's hide-away is a wonderful counterpoint to Colin's constant desire to be someone amazing, to do something amazing, to matter. Lindsey expresses this isolation and obscurity to be comforting and cathartic to her. And perhaps there will be some insight on Colin's part about what a relationship is and why it's valuable.
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