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"Holes" Half Book Analysis

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Introduction

1-3 The first three chapters set the scene of Camp Green Lake as a menacing place. Even before Stanley arrives at the camp it is clear that life will be hard for him there. The threats at Camp Green Lake are twofold; they come from humans and nature. Humans such as the Warden and the guard on the bus who has a gun are a clear symbol of harsh authority. The natural environment around Green Lake, the unrelenting sun, the dry air, and the many poisonous animals, are also fierce and dangerous. Just as Stanley's father continually hopes for an invention and is continually disappointed by his failures, so Stanley's hopes for friends and fun at Camp Green Lake are sure to be disappointed. This cycle of hope and disappointment runs in Stanley's family as part of the family curse handed down from Stanley's great-great-grandfather. If Stanley did not commit a crime, it seems that he is suffering for the actions of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great- grandfather. The short description provided of this great-great-grandfather leads the reader to assume that he really was a crook who has caused generations of his family to suffer unjustly. ...read more.

Middle

If Mr. Pendanski truly wanted to help every boy on their way to a better life then it seems doubtful that he would dismiss Zero as a boy with no brains at all. Stanley is not as tough as the other boys at Camp Green Lake are. While Stanley is innocent of the crime he was accused of, most of the other boys are there because they are guilty. Although the nature of their crimes are unknown, the sign outside of Mr. Sir's office, which prohibits weapons, suggests that violence may be second nature to many of the boys. Stanley consideration of this sign as obvious is a sign of his naivete. The fact that Armpit punches Stanley simply for calling him Theodore shows that the boys are not only tough but also unpredictable. 8-12 This section develops the relationship between the narrative and fairy tales. The yellow-spotted lizards embody many of the fears that most people have. Not only are they hideous looking and dangerous, but they hide in holes, where the boys spend most of their time. ...read more.

Conclusion

She rewards X- Ray when he claims to have found the gold tube and the other boys, who must continue working without a reward, understand the full effect of being in the Warden's good graces. The Warden is nicer to all of the boys when she believes that they are working for her and getting her what she wants. As soon as she begins to feel her goals will not be reached, she stops treating the boys well, and it is clear to them that they are no longer in her favor. Just as X-Ray has the power to move Stanley in front of Zero on the water line, so the Warden has power over not just the boys, but also Mr. Pendanski. When Mr. Pendanski threatens her system of absolute control even in a minute way, the Warden retaliates with a threat to lower his rank. She has the power to place him on the level of the campers if she wants, and it seems that this threat keeps him absolutely loyal to her. This even demonstrates that even though Mr. Pendanski seems to be in charge, he is always under the absolute control of the Warden. ...read more.

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