Quotes from Holes

Instructor: Lindsey Hays

Lindsey has taught Elementary Education, Spanish immersion, and ESL. She has a MS in Elementary Education with a BA in Spanish.

In ''Holes'' by Louis Sachar, Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake to dig holes. We'll look at some of the quotes from ''Holes'' in this lesson, for insight into who Stanley and how and why he's in Camp Green Lake.

Holes

What would it be like to get in trouble for something you didn't do? Think of how frustrating it would be to defend yourself if you were wrongfully accused. In Holes by Louis Sachar, Stanley Yelnats is not only wrongfully accused -- he has to go work at Camp Green Lake as punishment. He is forced to dig holes, day in and day out, for no good reason.

As Stanley digs, he builds friendships, faces poor treatment from adults, and ultimately runs away to find Zero, another boy from camp. Throughout the story, Stanley evolves as a person and is better for it.

Sachar wrote several meaningful quotes that make Stanley's story in Holes one to remember. In this lesson, we'll look at some of these quotes, as well as the context in which they occur along Stanley's transformative journey.

Quotes Chapters 1-12

  • There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. (Ch. 1)

The story begins with a teaser about what Camp Green Lake is, since it's not a lake.

Camp Green Lake was really a barren desert.
death valley

  • If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy. That was what some people thought. (Ch. 2)

This one quote describes what kind of place Camp Green Lake really is.

  • …the first hole's the hardest… (Ch. 9)

This quote is revisited in Chapter 12 as the boys correct Stanley and tell him that the second hole is the hardest, and then the third.

  • You are here on account of one person. If it wasn't for that person, you wouldn't be here digging holes in the hot sun. (Ch. 12)

Mr. Pendanski believes that the boys are only fulfilling the consequences of their actions.

Quotes Chapters 18-42

  • His muscles and hands weren't the only parts of his body that had toughened over the past several weeks. His heart had hardened as well. (Ch. 18)

Stanley grows and changes during his time at Camp Green Lake.

  • Stanley angrily dug his shovel into the dirt. He was angry at everyone -- Mr. Pendanski, the Warden, Zigzag, X-Ray, and his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. But mostly he was angry at himself. (Ch. 31)

We hear Stanley refer to his great-great-grandfather often. He is the family scapegoat, the person you blame when things go wrong. This time, Stanley felt guilty that Zero had helped him dig his hole, and Stanley had let him.

The boys had to dig holes in systematic rows.
Holes

  • Zero wasn't worried, 'When you spend your whole life living in a hole,' he said, 'the only way you can go is up.' (Ch. 36)

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