1 What is the focus of the first chapter? An introduction to the character of Kissin' Kate Barlow A description of the harsh, inhospitable setting of Camp Green Lake An explanation of Stanley Yelnats' family history A dialogue between Stanley Yelnats IV and Mr. Sir 2 Which quote is actually taken from "Holes," and explains the rationale behind the boys' task of digging holes at Camp Green Lake? "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." "Digging holes was punishment. You do something bad, you suffer for it." "It was a kind of mercy. Not a big mercy, but a little one - the lawmakers just wanted to give these criminals a second chance at a new life." "They put the boys in Camp Green Lake to dig holes because, well, they didn't know what else to do with them." 3 Why does Stanley smile on the bus in Chapter 3 when he thinks of "the crime for which he was convicted"? Stanley smiles because he is trying to hold back tears of regret and anger. Stanley smiles because he feels no remorse for having stolen the shoes that "Sweet Feet" was going to sell for charity. He smiles because that crime that has given him the exciting chance to start a new life at Camp Green Lake. He is amused and comforted by the thought of the family joke which blames all the Yelnats' bad fortune on his great-great-grandfather. 4 What is the mood of the song that has been passed down in Stanley's family, and what is its central theme? The melody is cheerful and describes how all of nature is interconnected. The song is a wistful song about how life can be full of loneliness and regrets. The lyrics of the song act as a warning: they remind the listener to keep their promises. The lyrics are almost unintelligible when translated into English, and Stanley repeats the tune without understanding what it means. 5 What is particularly notable about the name "Camp Green Lake"? The name doesn't have anything to do with the location of the camp or the history of the area. The name is very ironic because there is no longer a lake and almost nothing green growing in the area. The name seems to suggest that the boys are only temporary visitors, when really they are living there. The name is unmemorable and everyone has trouble remembering it because it is so generic. 6 What phrase do the camp counselors keep repeating to toughen up the boys? "You're always being watched. Always." "You're not in the Girl Scouts anymore." "Just deal with it." "No one gets out of here alive." 7 Why are there no guard towers or fences at Camp Green Lake? None of the boys are brave enough to ever try to escape, knowing that they could be shot by Mr. Sir. The counselors want to emphasize that the camp experience is supposed to be a place of learning and growing not of punishment. The boys can't really escape because there is no water for miles around. The camp is not a full prison unit, but rather for underage criminals who are not as dangerous as adult felons. 8 Why do people find it hard to believe Stanley Yelnats' story about how he came across the shoes he was accused of stealing? He claimed that they dropped from the sky, which is an improbable way of finding a pair of celebrity shoes. Stanley claimed he bought the shoes legally, but they would have cost much more money than he had. He claimed that he found them on the street, but surely someone else would have picked them up first if that was the case. Stanley told the court that he had never seen the shoes before, but they were found in his possession. 9 Why does Stanley think that coming across Clyde "Sweet Feet" Livingston's shoes is "destiny"? Stanley's family desperately needed money, and he could sell these shoes for enough to support them for a while. His father needs shoes to experiment on for his work, and these shoes could be the breakthrough in his invention process. Clyde Livingston is Stanley's favorite sportsman, so it feels like destiny when Stanley can handle his shoes first-hand. Stanley had lost a pair of shoes the previous day, so it seemed like fate when he found a pair just his size. 10 Stanley's personality might be characterized as ___. tough, aggressive, unthinking unlucky, good-humored, uncomplaining brash, outspoken, unrepentant withdrawn, apathetic, sad 11 What are the two scariest things that Stanley has to watch out for at Camp Green Lake? Scorpions and rattlesnakes The Warden and yellow-spotted lizards Dehydration and hunger The other boys' pranks and Mr. Sir's gun 12 Why does Elya Yelnats, Stanley's great-great-grandfather, break his promise and become cursed by Madame Zeroni? He does not believe in promises, and only said he would carry Madame Zeroni up the mountain because he knew he would not have to follow through. He is thoughtless and forgets to make good on his promise before leaving for America. He has not become strong enough to carry Madame Zeroni up the mountain, and by failing to do so breaks his promise. He is angry at Madame Zeroni for not helping him win Myra's hand in marriage, so he refuses to take her up the mountain as he promised. 13 When he gets to America, Elya Yelnats keeps looking for Madame Zeroni's son, but he isn't "sure what he'd do if he ever found [him] anyway. Carry him up a mountain and sing the pig lullaby to him?" This detail in Chapter 7 is an example of: Irony because it is too late for Elya to make good on his promise to Madame Zeroni, even if he did find her son in America Hypotheticals because Elya isn't actually planning to carry Madame Zeroni's son up a mountain, even if he did find him Foreshadowing because eventually a descendant of Elya will do that very same thing and break the curse on the family Humor because it is funny to imagine two men who have never met each other engaging in this behavior 14 How could one characterize the effect of the flashbacks to Lithuania at the beginning of the novel? They prove to us that Stanley is an introspective boy, much more focused on old family tales than on the world around him. They establish the fundamental importance of family history and ancestry - how we're affected by what happened in our family's past. They give the reader a sense of a wider world beyond Camp Green Lake to make us realize the short-sightedness of the characters. They establish the theme of travel and of internationalism in the novel. 15 What is the effect of the short chapters in the novel? There isn't very much space for information in each chapter, so a lot of things remain unsaid and mysterious, prompting the reader to continue. The novel reads like flash fiction with lots of hard-hitting opening and closing lines, and it can easily jump between times and places thanks to the constant chapter divisions. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific character, so we quickly get a look inside all the characters' heads and come to know them better. There's a feeling of stopping and starting which mimics how Stanley's life keeps stopping before it really gets started. 16 What does Zero's answer to the question "What do you like to do?" tell us about how he sees himself? Does this fit with what others think of him? Zero answers that he likes to read, which is a lie, since he cannot read. He wants others to think he is smart, but no one believes him - there is a disconnect between how Zero sees himself and how the world sees him. Zero answers "I like to dig holes," which shows that he is unambitious due to his laziness. He doesn't want to make a success of himself in the world, and would rather stick with what he knows. Everyone else knows how he is lazy and stupid. Zero answers "I like to dig holes," which shows us that he has very little confidence in himself and his abilities to do anything special. This is in agreement with what the other boys and staff members think of him: that he's too stupid to succeed. Zero gives an ambitious answer because he knows that he has the potential to succeed, even though everyone else thinks he's too stupid. 17 Stanley says at the beginning of Chapter 13 that "the third hole was the hardest. So was the fourth hole. And the fifth hole..." This is an example of: A paradox, arising from subjective narration and intended to provide emphasis Humorous irony Unreliable narration and intentional misleading of the reader Hyperbole and fantasy 18 In Chapter 15, Stanley looks over at the spot where he discovered the lipstick case and "[digs] the hole into his memory." This phrase is an example of: Subjective narration Figurative language and metaphor Hyperbole Sensory imagery 19 In Chapter 16, Stanley has to explain his mother's joke about "the little old lady who lived in a shoe" to an uncomprehending Zero. What does this tell us about the two boys? Stanley is very compassionate and tries to help Zero get the joke, but Zero is stubborn and refuses to admit when he doesn't understand. Stanley is condescending because he thinks Zero is less intelligent. Stanley has been more immersed in American culture and understands references that Zero cannot. Stanley has a better sense of humor than Zero, who never finds anything funny. 20 Where does the Warden's power stem from? She repeatedly threatens the boys with prison - if she kicks them out of Camp Green Lake, they will have to go somewhere worse. She has a very loud voice and screams at the boys when they disobey her. She controls the scarce resources and privileges of the camp, and she also uses violence to make herself feared by counselors and boys alike. She is very rich, as the descendant of the Trout family, and everyone is in awe of her wealth. 21 When Stanley thinks to himself while digging his first hole, "Only ten million more to go," this is an example of: Metonymy Narrative voice Symbolism Hyperbole 22 What is the significance of Stanley receiving a nickname from the other boys? It proves that he is part of the group, which makes Stanley feel accepted and proud. "Caveman" is a threatening name which proves that no one is willing to challenge Stanley's authority. Stanley has lost his appeal as a newcomer or an outsider, and is no longer interesting to the other boys. Stanley learns that the nicknaming process isn't significant; even poor ridiculed Zero has a nickname. 23 Chapter 8 draws an analogy between yellow-spotted lizards and ______. On what basis? People's dark history. The lizards are poisonous, and so are past secrets that fester in people's lives, ruining their present. The Warden. Both are venomous and treacherous, and both strike terror into the kids at Camp Green Lake. The desert. The lizards live in the desert, and the boys have to be very careful when dealing with nature in the area. Curses. Most people do not have direct experiences with either, and they seem like they come out of a fairytale. 24 What is the effect of the Warden's delayed appearance in the novel? The reader doesn't know who the Warden is or why she is important, and the boys feel similarly confused as to why they should be following her orders. The Warden is established as a minor character, much less essential to the life of Camp Green Lake than the boys and the other counselors. There is an air of mystery around the Warden, who has loomed large over the first few chapters of the novel without actually showing herself. This serves to underscore her quiet and unchallenged authority. The Warden only shows up when she might gain something from it, proving to all the boys that she's a greedy character. 25 What first impression does Stanley have of the Warden when she comes to visit the boys digging holes? She has red hair, and Stanley thinks to himself that it makes her look wild and dangerous. She seems very tall and imposing to him, since she is a tall woman and he is also down in his hole. She is scowling, which makes Stanley think she must be a very angry person. He thinks she is very pretty, and he wonders what she's doing in a place like Camp Green Lake.