In the second chapter, the narrator says that many people think, “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.” Do many people in real life hold this to be true? If so, how do you know?
Students should think about what the quote means in a more general context: not about digging holes specifically, but about labor as punishment. Where in our society do we use labor as punishment? Does it really help a “bad” person become a “good” person, and if so, how would that work? Next, they can consider the possibility of the warden having an ulterior motive for making the boys dig. Stanley speculates that the warden...
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