The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt
Contributed by Ariane Heyne
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Chapter 10

Months later, Theo is engaged to Andy’s sister, Kitsey, and has neglected his love for Pippa. On the streets of New York, Theo runs into Boris, now a rich, grown-up man. Boris reveals to Theo that he stole his painting while they were in Las Vegas and that he has been using it to amass wealth. He also informs Theo that the current holder of The Goldfinch is Mr. Horst, who is retaining it as collateral after advancing a loan to Boris. Theo was intoxicated when he showed Boris the painting, which was when he decided to switch the painting with a wrapped textbook. Nevertheless, Boris promised to return the painting, which he did not exactly know where it was at that moment in time. He vows to contact his associates for further information about the painting.

Tartt’s Chapter Ten also features an incident where Theo finds Kitsey kissing Tom Cable, whom he has been dating secretly. It is at this point that Theo realizes that his fiancé is in love with Tom the same way he was with Pippa. Subsequently, Theo meets Kitsey and the two resolve that they have an un-loving but solid relationship of which they had to continue with. During Theo’s engagement party, Theo meets Lucius’ business associate, who threatens to expose Theo’s scam at Hobie’s workshop. It is at this point where Theo and Boris agree that they must track down the painting in Europe as soon as possible.


The relationship between Theo and Kitsey parallels deception surrounding the entire idea of paintings in the novel. On one hand, Theo does not love Kitsey, although he considers her the best choice for a future wife. He has true love for Pippa, but is distracted by Kitsey’s relationship, which he knows will not work. Similarly, Kitsey is in love with Tom but does not disclose it until Theo finds her kissing him. When they talk, they discover that they have similar issues and proceed to convince each other that the best recourse is to remain together.

On the other hand, there is deception in the paintings and antiques businesses, including the one being operated by Horst. He is an associate to Boris, and is also the person who is holding The Goldfinch as collateral for a sum of money lent to Boris. Horst is not aware of the exact value of the painting he is holding, but feels that he can still hold it as security. Similar deception is evident at Hobie’s workshop, where Theo resorts to selling restored antiques as originals. After being in the antique business for some time, Theo discovers that it is ultimately the buyer, rather than the seller, who determines the value of an artwork. Deception is also extended to The Goldfinch, whereby Theo has always believed that he has been in possession of the painting, when — in reality — he has been keeping a wrapped textbook.

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