Love, discrimination, and revenge
Love and rejection
Katherine Barlow is one of the most interesting characters in the novel Holes by Louis Sachar. She goes through a profound character change: from the popular and esteemed teacher Katherine Barlow to the dangerous and notorious outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow (see characterization "Katherine Barlow").
At the beginning of Katherine Barlow's story, she is a popular and much loved figure in the town of Green Lake. Because of her beauty, she is adored by many male townspeople. Among them is the town's richest heir, Charles (Trout) Walker, who is seen by many as the one most likely to marry Katherine:
Most everyone in the town of Green Lake expected Miss Katherine to marry Trout Walker. He was the son of the richest man in the county. His family owned most of the peach trees and all the land on the east side of the lake. (Part 1, 88%)
However, the townspeople are mistaken about Katherine Barlow's preferences. She does not care as much about the money and influence of her suitors as she does about their personality. Charles Walker is "loud and stupid" (Part 1, 88%) and even seems proud of it. When he wants to take Katherine out, she rejects him which angers him greatly: "No one ever says ‘No’ to Charles Walker!" (Part 1, 83%).
As Katherine gets to know Sam, the onion merchant, better, it becomes clear what she values in him: she enjoys talking with him, Sam is interested in poetry, is helpful and caring, and fixes her schoolhouse for a few peach jars. The fact that Sam is black doesn't bother Katherine at all. As she spends more and more time with him, she realizes that she has fallen in love with him. When they kiss, "her brain and ...