Holes

Holes

by

Louis Sachar

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Elya is referred to as Stanley's “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.” He's responsible for cursing the Yelnats family after he broke a promise to his friend Madame Zeroni. Elya is described as being a kind, if somewhat idealistic, teen; he's far more interested in spending time with Madame Zeroni than he is in mud wrestling, which is held up as the sport of desirable bachelors. At age fifteen in mid-1800s Latvia, Elya fell in love with a girl named Myra. To win her hand, Madame Zeroni told Elya to carry a runty piglet up a mountain every day. There, the piglet was to drink from a stream and Elya was to sing it a special song. On the day of Myra's birthday, Elya was then supposed to carry Madame Zeroni up the mountain. However, Elya neglected to carry the pig up the hill on the last day and because of this, the pig weighed exactly the same as Igor Barkov's pig. In his disappointment at losing his love's hand, Elya boarded a ship bound for America and broke his promise to Madame Zeroni. Elya was insistent that the curse was nonsense; he was sad only because he felt bad for breaking his promise, as he knew how much she wanted to drink from the stream. Though he never admits that the curse might be real, he does tell his wife, Sarah Miller, about the curse after lightning strikes his barn for a third time.

Elya Yelnats Quotes in Holes

The Holes quotes below are all either spoken by Elya Yelnats or refer to Elya Yelnats. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Holes published in 1998.
Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

Stanley was not a bad kid. He was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. He'd just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It was all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!

He smiled. It was a family joke. Whenever anything went wrong, they always blamed Stanley's no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.

Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

All of them had something else in common. Despite their awful luck, they always remained hopeful. As Stanley's father liked to say, "I learn from failure."

But perhaps that was part of the curse as well. If Stanley and his father weren't always hopeful, then it wouldn't hurt so much every time their hopes were crushed.

Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1, Chapter 7 Quotes

He wasn't afraid of the curse. He thought that was a lot of nonsense. He felt bad because he knew Madame Zeroni had wanted to drink from the stream before she died.

Related Characters: Elya Yelnats, Madame Zeroni
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
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Holes PDF

Elya Yelnats Character Timeline in Holes

The timeline below shows where the character Elya Yelnats appears in Holes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 7
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
The narrator jumps back in time to tell the story of Elya Yelnats. He was born in Latvia and at age fifteen, fell in love with fourteen-year-old... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Elya told Madame Zeroni about his plight, but she was unsympathetic. She insisted that Elya was... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Madame Zeroni said that Elya should carry the pig up the mountain for the last time on Myra's fifteenth birthday,... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Elya did as he was told and as the pig grew big and strong, so did... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...examined the pigs, declared them fine pigs, and couldn't decide whose pig to accept. When Elya suggested that Myra choose, both Igor and Myra's father were shocked, but Myra's father agreed... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Elya wandered aimlessly until he ended up on a pier. He was heartbroken; he thought that... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
In America, Elya fell in love with a woman named Sarah Miller. She was smart and strong, and... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 50
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...a curse, it's true that Stanley's father invented his foot odor cure the day after Elya Yelnats's great-great grandson carried the great-great-great grandson of Madame Zeroni up the mountain. The Warden... (full context)