Holes

Holes

by

Louis Sachar

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The Warden, the novel's villain, owns and runs Camp Green Lake in the Texas desert. She's a tall, red-haired woman who is soft spoken but nasty: she knows that she's the most powerful person at camp and uses this to intimidate anyone who challenges or bothers her, children and adults alike. When she feels as though Mr. Sir is wasting her time by bringing up his stolen sunflower seeds to her, she viciously hits him across the face with her rattlesnake venom-infused nail polish, leaving him in excruciating pain and with massive swelling on his face for days. Though it's never confirmed, the boys of Tent D tell Stanley that the Warden has hidden cameras and microphones around the camp to constantly spy on the teenage inmates. Stanley discovers relatively quickly that the Warden is looking for something specific in the desert. Through flashbacks, the reader learns that the Warden is Trout Walker's descendant and her family has owned the land around Green Lake for generations. When X-Ray "discovers" the lipstick tube from Kate Barlow, the Warden gets excited and proves a terrifying overseer when it becomes clear that she's not going to find what she's looking for. Later, when Zero walks off into the desert alone, the Warden shows just how cruel she is and how little she thinks of her charges: she asks Mr. Pendanski to erase Zero's records, implying that if Zero somehow doesn't die in the desert, he'll somehow die when he returns to camp. Days later, when Stanley and Zero do unearth the first Stanley's suitcase that Kate Barlow buried in the desert, the Warden engages in a standoff for more than twelve hours with the boys, who are surrounded by yellow-spotted lizards. She callously asks Zero why he isn't dead yet and when Ms. Morengo and the Attorney General arrive, she attempts to act as though she cares about the boys and about observing protocol, though her constantly changing story reveals she cares only about herself. After Stanley and Zero leave camp, the Warden is forced to sell Camp Green Lake.

The Warden Quotes in Holes

The Holes quotes below are all either spoken by The Warden or refer to The Warden. 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 11 Quotes

The more he thought about it, the more he was glad that he agreed to let X-Ray have anything he might find. If he was going to survive at Camp Green Lake, it was far more important that X-Ray think he was a good guy than it was for him to get one day off.

Related Characters: Stanley Yelnats, The Warden, X-Ray/Rex
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1, Chapter 23 Quotes

A lot of men in town were not educated. This didn't bother Miss Katherine. She knew they'd spent most of their lives working on farms and ranches and hadn't had much schooling. That was why she was there—to teach them.

But Trout didn't want to learn. He seemed to be proud of his stupidity.

Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1, Chapter 27 Quotes

Fortunately, Mr. Pendanski delivered the water more often than Mr. Sir. Mr. Pendanski was obviously aware of what Mr. Sir was doing, because he always gave Stanley a little extra. He'd fill Stanley's canteen, then let Stanley take a long drink, then top it off for him.

Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 30 Quotes

"He's a genius, all right!" said Mr. Pendanski. "He's so stupid, he doesn't even know he's stupid."

Stanley didn't know why Mr. Pendanski seemed to have it in for Zero. If Mr. Pendanski only thought about it, he'd realize it was very logical for Zero to think that the letter "h" made the "ch" sound.

Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 31 Quotes

"I don't think I can erase him completely from all the state files, said Mr. Pendanski. "Too many cross-references. But I can so make it so it would be very difficult for anyone to ever find a record of him. Like I said, though, no one will ever look. No one cares about Hector Zeroni."

"Good," said the Warden.

Related Characters: The Warden (speaker), Mr. Pendanski (speaker), Stanley Yelnats, Zero/Hector Zeroni, Mr. Sir
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 47 Quotes

"It's got his name on it," said Zero.

Stanley's lawyer pushed past the tall man to have a look.

"See," Zero showed her. "Stanley Yelnats."

Stanley looked, too. There, in big black letters, was STANLEY YELNATS.

Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Holes LitChart as a printable PDF.
Holes PDF

The Warden Character Timeline in Holes

The timeline below shows where the character The Warden appears in Holes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1 
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...under two oak trees with a hammock strung between—though that shade is "owned" by the Warden. There are rattlesnakes and scorpions around, but being bitten or stung by them isn't the... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Justice Theme Icon
...that Mr. Sir is only cranky because he quit smoking. He does say that the Warden is the only person to worry about. As Mr. Pendanski tells Stanley that he knows... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 10
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...it up, he notices a rock with a fossilized fish in it. Stanley hopes the Warden will find the fossil interesting. (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...fossil and points out the fish. Mr. Pendanski agrees that it's interesting, but says the Warden isn't interested in fossils. The other boys pass the fossil around and admire the fish. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 13
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...it to X-Ray. X-Ray's hole is almost finished, unlike Stanley's, and by the time the Warden deems the find interesting, X-Ray might already be done. Stanley wonders if he could take... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 14
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...away, X-Ray yells that he found something. Mr. Pendanski examines the tube and says the Warden will like it. He encourages Rex to not dig too hard. (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...back to camp and returns a short while later with a tall, red-haired woman. The Warden approaches X-Ray, confirms where he found the tube, and tells Mr. Pendanski to drive X-Ray... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 15
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
After Mr. Pendanski fills canteens, the Warden picks through X-Ray's pile of dirt with a pitchfork. She asks Mr. Pendanski to drive... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...dig until their holes are more than six feet deep and wide, and then the Warden returns to her cabin. As the boys return to the compound, Stanley remarks that the... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 16
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The next morning, the Warden walks Group D to the holes again. Stanley spends most of the day dumping wheelbarrows... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Later, Stanley wonders if there's a way he could tell the Warden where the tube actually came from. As he's turning it over, Mr. Pendanski comes into... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 17
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...where X-Ray supposedly found the tube for a week. Eventually, the holes all connect. The Warden becomes less and less patient and snaps one afternoon when Armpit returns from a bathroom... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 19
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...Mr. Sir observes that Stanley found something, and suggests that they take it to the Warden. Stanley explains that he stole the sack himself and ate the sunflower seeds all by... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 20
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...their way to the electric chair. Stanley is surprised to see holes all around the Warden's house as Mr. Sir knocks on the door. The Warden frostily invites Mr. Sir and... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Warden points Stanley to a dressing room of sorts and asks him to fetch a small... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
The Warden turns to Mr. Sir. As he begins to explain again what he thinks happened, she... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 21
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...Stanley returns to the group, he says simply to his curious fellow campers that the Warden just got mad at Mr. Sir for bothering her. Stanley is surprised to see that... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 22
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...that he still needs a break from digging to teach Zero. He thinks about the Warden's cabin and the mysterious gold tube. Suddenly, Stanley realizes it's half of a lipstick container... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 27
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...is true, Stanley also knows that Zero is a fast learner. He sometimes hopes the Warden is watching them so she'll know that Zero isn't stupid. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 30
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...as Mr. Pendanski fires his pistol, and the boys fall apart. The counselors and the Warden hurry over and Mr. Pendanski explains that there was a riot. Armpit and X-Ray attempt... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Stanley calmly explains his deal with Zero to the Warden and suggests that Zero learning to read is building his character, just like digging holes.... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Warden says that nobody will dig anyone else's hole and that Zero's reading lessons must stop.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 31
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...if they made it there, they'd still have to come back eventually and face the Warden. Stanley wonders if he could somehow strike a deal with the Warden, but figures she'd... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...there's still water there. When Stanley returns to his tent after digging, he finds the Warden, Mr. Sir, and Mr. Pendanski waiting for him. They want to know where Zero is,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 33
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...as he thinks he can, then turn back. Then he'll make a deal with the Warden. Stanley is surprised to see holes so far away and not dug systematically, like at... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 36
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...but he is afraid of his parents not knowing what happened. He wonders if the Warden will send out a search party and reasons that he at least has a family... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 44
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...hands it to Zero. As Stanley tries to pull himself out of the hole, the Warden turns on a flashlight and thanks him for his help. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 45
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...lap. Mr. Sir points his gun at Zero. He's wearing nothing but pajama pants. The Warden starts to speak, but stops and begins to back away. Two yellow-spotted lizards crawl up... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 46
Justice Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Warden tells the counselors that their story is simple: Stanley tried to run away, fell in... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Not long before 4:30am, the Warden sends the counselors to the tents to deal with the campers. Only Mr. Sir remains... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 47
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...rises, Stanley counts eight lizards in the hole with him. Inexplicably, Zero says, "Satan." The Warden suggests that Mr. Sir take the suitcase from Zero, as the lizards clearly aren't hungry,... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...Attorney General, and says that if anything happens to Stanley, they're filing charges against the Warden as well as the state of Texas. The Attorney General asks the Warden how long... (full context)
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Ms. Morengo angrily says that this wouldn't have happened if the Warden had released Stanley to her yesterday, but the Warden insists that this is Stanley's fault.... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...himself and then helps Zero stand. As the last of the lizards skitter away, the Warden rushes to Zero, hugs him, and tries to take the suitcase. Zero jerks it away... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 48
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...Stanley and Zero food. Ms. Morengo assures Stanley that he'll see his parents soon. The Warden attempts to say that the suitcase itself belongs to Stanley, but the contents are hers.... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...at Zero and says he can't leave Hector. Zero looks from Mr. Pendanski to the Warden and Mr. Sir, insisting he'll be fine. Stanley insists that the Warden will kill Zero... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...his mom to tell her that Alan says he's sorry. The boys disperse when the Warden and the Attorney General return. The Attorney General explains that he can't find any of... (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
...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 General closed Camp Green Lake.... (full context)