This study guide will help you analyze the novel Holes by Louis Sachar. You can also find a summary of the text, detailed characterizations, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective.


Excerpt from the study guide: 

Ever since Stanley followed Zero into the desert, he has proven to be a fiercely loyal and concerned friend. When Zero flatly refuses to return to Camp Green Lake, Stanley, in another fit of daring, decides to go with him to find the "Thumb of God," a rock formation that supposedly helped his great-grandfather survive for seventeen days in the desert.

Stanley is not afraid of his own death, but he does not want to cause his parents pain. With perseverance and willpower, both succeed in reaching the mountain with the "thumb of God". Here the exhausted boys find water and onions, which eat for the next few days.

When Zero can walk no further, Stanley carries him up the mountain on his own - unwittingly banishing the curse brought upon the Yelnats family by his great-great-grandfather. For the first time in his life, Stanley can stand on his own. He is even glad that Clyde Livingston's sneakers fell on his head.

The clever treasure hunter

Although Stanley and Zero find enough water and onions on the "Thumb of God" to survive there for a while, Stanley wants to return to camp. He is clever enough to figure out that the teens are digging the holes not only for character building, but because the camp's Warden is clearly looking for something - the treasure of famous outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow, which Stanley strongly suspects is in the hole where he found the lipstick tube marked K. B.

Stanley hopes that with the treasure he has found, he and Zero will not have to return to Camp Green Lake. He imagines a life on the run from the police and even plays with the idea of taking on a new identity. The shy boy from the beginning is hardly recognizable anymore.

The lucky guy

At the very moment Stanley carried Zero up the mountain, banishing the family curse, his father developed an effective remedy for foot sweat. His patent attorney took another close look at Stanley's case and was able to prove Stanley’s innocence in court. From now on, fate is completely on the Yelnats' side: Stanley's father's patent lawyer rescues Stanley and Zero from the hole with the yellow-spotted lizards and from the Warden's wrath.

Stanley remains a loyal friend to the end and refuses to leave camp without Zero. The patent attorney is able to discover that Zero's files have been illegally destroyed. She takes both boys to Stanley's parents. 

The metal suitcase Stanley dug up contains jewelry and value papers. It is labeled with Stanley's name and rightfully belongs to him. Although he gives half to Zero, he still has nearly a million dollars left for his own use. He buys his parents a new house with a laboratory on the first floor and befriends the famous baseball player Clyde Livingston.

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