Major characters

  • Stanley Yelnats IV: Stanley is the unlikely hero of Holes. Stanley is an overweight 14-year-old boy who does not have any friends from school and is often picked on by his classmates and the school bully. Stanley's family is cursed with bad luck, and although they do not have much money, they always try to remain hopeful and look on the bright side of things. Stanley shares these traits with his family and, although he does not have a lot of self-confidence, he is not easily depressed, a characteristic that helps him adjust to the horrendous conditions of Camp Green Lake. However, he has a bad habit which attributes his great-great-grandfather when he gets in trouble. This habit made him impudent.[6] As the book progresses, Stanley slowly develops physical strength and mental strength. He identifies the people who threaten him, like the Warden, and while he tries not to get in trouble he also stands up for his own right and the rights of his friends and family.
  • X-Ray (Rex Washburn): X-Ray is the unofficial head of the group of boys in group D. X-Ray decides that Stanley will be called Caveman and fixes the order of the line for water. X-Ray maintains his position as the leader of the boys even though he is one of the smallest boys and can barely see without his glasses. He convinces Stanley to give him the lipstick tube that Stanley finds in his hole so that he can have the day off instead of Stanley. X-Ray is able to maintain his position at the head of the group through a system of rewards and allies. Every time that Stanley does something nice for X-Ray, X-Ray is nice to Stanley and stands up for him when the other boys pick on him. When Stanley becomes friends with Zero, however, X-Ray's system is threatened and he becomes hostile towards Stanley. His nickname X-ray comes from its being pig Latin of his actual name, Rex.
  • Zero (Hector Zeroni): Zero is known to be the best digger at Camp Green Lake. So often, he is considered to be "stupid" or a mere nothing by the other boys and the counselors at the lake. He lacks an education, meaning he cannot really read nor write. However, he is smart and manages to stand for himself in the face of adversity. Typically he is noted as the character that hardly speaks due to the fact that he is wary of those who mock him (Mr. Pendanski). He is said to always have a scowl on his face and does not like to answer questions. Zero is shown to be an honest character after becoming close friends with Stanley. Zero is the one who steals the shoes that Stanley was accused of stealing. He is the great-great-great-grandson of Madame Zeroni, the woman who put a curse on Stanley's family. He has been homeless for most of his life, as well as being abandoned by his mother at a very young age. Although he suffers quite a bit, he always seems to persevere and come out on top.
  • Squid (Alan): Squid is a member of Group D at Camp Green Lake. He is often the one for taunting Stanley for receiving letters to and from his mother. Just like X-Ray, Squid is very tough but very subservient to X-Ray's rules and directions.
  • Magnet (Josè): Another member of Group D. Magnet earned his nickname because of his ability to steal, he refers to his fingers as "little magnets".
  • Armpit (Theodore Johnson): One of X-Ray's close friends at camp, he is essentially the one who pushes Stanley once Stanley calls him Armpit. He is called "Armpit" because a scorpion stung him on the arm.
  • Zigzag (Ricky): Zigzag is described to being the tallest kid of Group D, constantly looking like he has been electrocuted. Stanley often thinks he is the weirdest and craziest kid at Camp Green Lake. Zigzag is the one who hit Stanley on the head with a shovel and did not apologize for doing so. Zigzag suffers from paranoia, highlighting his displayed "craziness".
  • The Warden: Running Camp Green Lake, she is known to be violent, abusive, and quite mean. She uses her power and privilege to get what she wants and make members of the camp to do as she wants. She has hidden cameras, using them to spy on the members of the Camp. She is often thought of to have hidden cameras in the showers, causing Stanley to be paranoid whenever he took a shower, rushing out as fast as possible. She wears nail polish traced with rattlesnake venom, causing her to scratch those when they displease or go against what she says. She has the members of Camp Green Lake digging holes to look for Kate Barlow's Hidden treasure.
  • Mr. Sir: One of the counselors at Camp Green Lake, he's constantly eating sunflower seeds. He took up this habit after deciding to quit smoking. He is known to be mean and tough.
  • Mr. Pendanski: In group D at Camp Green Lake Mr. Pendanski is in charge. Mr. Pendanski may seem friendly, but he is just as mean as the Warden and Mr. Sir. He never stops making fun of Zero.

Pre–Camp Lake characters

  • Katherine Barlow (Kissin' Kate Barlow): Katherine Barlow is a sweet and intelligent woman who teaches in a one-room school house on Green Lake one hundred ten years before it becomes Camp Green Lake. She falls in love with Sam, the man who sells onions in the town, because he is kind, strong, and smart. Although the rest of the white people in the town are racist and enforce rules that prohibit black people from going to school, Kate, who is white, does not care about the color of a person's skin and she loves Sam for the person that he is. When Kate and Sam kiss the town grows angry and kills Sam. Kate is devastated by Sam's death and is driven mad. She becomes Kissin' Kate Barlow, one of the most feared outlaws in the west. Kissin' Kate would always leave her mark by kissing someone when she had killed them; if she had only robbed them, she would leave them in the hot desert letting the yellow-spotted lizards bite the victim with their poisonous teeth and kill them. She was the outlaw responsible for robbing Stanley Yelnats I (Stanley's ancestor), whose treasure is later found by Stanley and Hector (Zero).
  • Sam: A black farmer in the town Green Lake, Texas who grew onions. He believed onions were the cure to everything. He made many remedies from onions. He also had an immense love for his donkey, Mary Lou. His relationship to Kate began when Sam exchanged his onions for a jar of peaches. Since Sam is black, he did suffer a great deal of racism. He was killed by the townspeople for kissing Kate. His death was led off by Charles Walker (Trout Walker).
  • Charles Walker (Trout): An extremely spoiled and rich son of a rich family in Green Lake. He gets upset when Kate denies his request to date her. This angers him, causing him to lead the townspeople to burn down the schoolhouse and kill Sam. His nickname Trout came about due to his foot fungus that caused his feet to smell like dead fish.

Characters in mid-1800s Latvia

  • Elya Yelnats: Elya is the great-great-grandfather of Stanley. He is often referred to as his "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather", constantly being blamed for everything that goes wrong in Stanley's life. He is considered to be the reason why the Yelnats family has such bad luck. After he fell in love with the woman in Latvia, he travels to America, forgetting to go through with the promise he made to a gypsy named Madame Zeroni. This causes generations of bad luck to trickle down the Yelnats family tree. However, he does pass down an important song that Madame Zeroni taught him in Latvia.
  • Madame Zeroni: Madame Zeroni is the great- great-great-grandmother of Hector Zeroni (Zero). She was great friends with Elya Yelnats, who is given a pig by Madame Zeroni but he just so happened to break his promise of carrying her to the top of the mountain. She is considered to be the one who put a "curse" on the Yelnats family.

Minor Characters

  • Stanley Yelnats I: Stanley Yelnats I is the son of Elya Yelnats as well as the great-grandfather of Stanley Yelnats IV. He was the one whose treasure was stolen from Kate Barlow while he was moving from New York to California. He is known to be survived by climbing to the top of a thumb-shaped mountain (God's Thumb) which happens to be Sam's old onion field.
  • Mr. Yelnats: Mr. Yelnats is Stanley's father. He is an inventor and quite smart, but extremely unlucky. He attempts to discover a way to recycle old sneakers because the Yelnats' apartment smells bad. However, he eventually discovers a cure to ridding foot odor and is able to hire a lawyer, Ms. Morengo to get Stanley out of Camp Green Lake.
  • Mrs. Yelnats: Mrs. Yelnats is Stanley's mother. She does not believe in curses but always points out the terrible luck that the Yelnats go through.

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