Holes

Holes

by

Louis Sachar

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Madame Zeroni Character Analysis

In the present, Madame Zeroni is described as a "Gypsy woman;" in reality, Madame Zeroni was Egyptian. In mid-1800s Latvia, she was an elderly woman and was good friends with Elya Yelnats. When Elya approached her, sad that he was going to be unable to marry Myra Menke, Madame Zeroni initially cautioned that Myra wasn't worth the trouble. However, against her better judgment, she gave Elya a runty piglet and instructed him to carry the piglet up the nearby mountain every day. There, the piglet was supposed to drink from the stream as Elya sang a special song to the pig. This was supposed to make the pig bigger than Igor's pig, who was Elya's rival for Myra’s hand. On the final day, Elya was to carry Madame Zeroni up the hill (she has only one foot and couldn't climb herself) and sing her the song while she drank from the stream. Madame Zeroni told Elya that if he failed at any of this, his family would be cursed for eternity. Elya did indeed fail to follow through and began to wonder if the curse was real when he arrived in America. Though he asked people often if they knew of anyone named Zeroni, he never found any relatives of hers. In the present, Zero is Madame Zeroni's great-great-great grandson.

Madame Zeroni Quotes in Holes

The Holes quotes below are all either spoken by Madame Zeroni or refer to Madame Zeroni. 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:
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

Madame Zeroni Character Timeline in Holes

The timeline below shows where the character Madame Zeroni 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
...one of Igor's pigs than Elya's "heart full of love," so Elya went to see Madame Zeroni , an old Egyptian woman with only one foot. (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 too young to... (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... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
...by Myra's birthday, so instead of carrying it up the mountain one last time as Madame Zeroni had told him to, Elya took a bath. Then, he presented his pig to Myra's... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...he ended up on a pier. He was heartbroken; he thought that Myra loved him. Madame Zeroni was right. Elya read a sign asking for deck hands on a ship to America,... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
...loved each other very much. However, bad luck seemed to follow Elya. He remembered that Madame Zeroni mentioned having a son in America, so he began approaching people asking if they knew... (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
...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 was forced to sell her family's land after the Attorney... (full context)