Holes Irony

"This ain't a Girl Scout camp."

This phrase is repeated several times by Mr. Sir to emphasise to the boys of Green Lake that they will not be pampered during their stay. Towards the end of the book, we are informed that Green Lake will be converted into a Girl Scout camp. This is highly ironic and suggests that Green Lake is entering a new, kinder era (a change also emphasized by the change in the weather).

"Camp Green Lake"

The name "Green Lake" evokes images of lush trees and water, but the place itself is actually a desert. The name harks back to a better time. The irony of this misnaming is heightened by its effect on Stanley. He imagines a beautiful lake where he and his fellow campers will learn to water ski and swim, and instead he is presented with the opposite, although he tries to keep up the facade in his letters to his mother.

"I respect you Stanley."

Pendanski, a supposed psychologist, makes it clear to Stanley that he will be respected as an individual. However, within minutes, he ridicules Zero for his supposed lack of intelligence, leading one to believe that the campers are not actually respected. This is confirmed later in the novel, when Pendanski destroys Zero's records and then stands by when Stanley and Zero are surrounded by lethal lizards, unwilling to do anything to save them.

The Mary Lou

Sam's boat causes his demise as he is unable to keep up with the faster steamboat owned by Trout Walker. However, the sunken boat ends up saving Zero, who resembles Sam in several ways, when Zero is able to take shelter from the hot sun under the boat, and eat the spiced peaches stored in it.

"Excuse me."

This statement, spoken several times by the Warden, is generally taken to be a courteous interruption in common speech. When the Warden says it, however, it is a declaration of authority over those around her. She is not asking to be excused, she is asking that her interlocutor acknowledge her superior authority and power.