What is a “ward of the state”? What do you think that term means to Zero?
Students should compare Stanley's family situation to Zero's. As a ward of the state, Zero has no legal guardian, no family to come to his defense or speak up for him when he is being mistreated. The state is supposed to take care of him, and so far, Holes hasn't shown the state to be a very reliable or trustworthy caretaker when it comes to matters of justice. Stanley is disadvantaged because his family is poor, but at least he has their love and support. As a result, Stanley has an education, and a home to go back to if he ever gets out of the desert. Encourage your students to imagine how Zero...
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