Holes Study Guide

Holes By Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats VI's great-great-grandfather was cursed, and Stanley suffers daily as a result. One day, a pair of sneakers fall from the sky and hit him, and he is accused of stealing them from a charity. He is faced with jail or juvenile correction camp, and is thus taken to Camp Green Lake. There is no green and no lake, and he and his fellows are forced to dig 5'x5' holes in the dry lake bed every day. He slowly realizes that it's because the camp warden is searching for something.

Stanley's great-great-grandfather, Elya Yelnats, was cursed because he wanted a pig with which to buy a bride, and the witch who gave it to him insisted that he sing a special song every day for a month -- and he learned that his bride-to-be was stupid, and left for America before the month was up. He named his son Stanley because it thought it was funny that his last name (Yelnats) was Stanley spelled backwards, and every son in succession has born that name ever since.

Stanley Yelnats I, Elya's son, came to Green Lake when it was a town rather than a campground. He fell in love with a woman named Katherine, but racial segregation made their love illegal, and the townspeople killed Sam. Since that day, no rain has fallen on Green Lake, which is why it is now brown and dry.

Katherine is driven mad, and becomes an outlaw, happening on the way to bury some loot on Green Lake. Hundreds of years later, the land has become a juvenile camp, and Stanley VI is digging holes there.

He finds a golden tube with the initials KB on it, and believes that Kate Barlow's treasure must be nearby. He gives the tube to another boy, who takes credit for finding it a good distance away from it's actual location. He now has proof that they are looking for something.

Stanley helps a friend named Zero survive being run out of camp, and together, the two return to dig up the hole where the golden tube was found. They find an old suitcase, but the Warden finds them and tries to take it away. The Warden reveals that she has been forced by her family to look for the suitcase.

Stanley's lawyer arrives with the news that Stanley's case has been overturned and he is free to go. The Warden tries to keep the suitcase, but it has "Stanley Yelnats" printed on it - because Katherine had hidden her loot in Stanley's great-grandfather's suitcase. Stanley learns that the suitcase is full of loot, and is suddenly rich. The juvenile camp, which was only formed to look for the suitcase in the first place, is disbanded.

It is revealed that the friend that Stanley helped is none other than the great-great-grandson of the witch that cursed Elya many years ago, and by helping him, Stanley broke the curse, and his fortune will improve from here on out.

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