Holes

Holes

by

Louis Sachar

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Holes: Part 1, Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Group D digs in the area around 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 break. With her pitchfork, the Warden jabs at Armpit, pushing him backwards into the hole and leaving three bloody spots on his chest. The Warden also tells Mr. Pendanski that he's giving the boys too much water.
The Warden's behavior here is horrifying, but it does drive home that for her, the inmates are absolutely a means to find whatever she's looking for--essentially, she doesn't care about the boys themselves. Again, this suggests that Camp Green Lake itself exists outside the realm of the formal justice system that technically forbids these abuses.
Themes
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
That afternoon, Zigzag's shovel hits Stanley in the head. Magnet calls for Mr. Sir, who bandages Stanley's bloody head and sends him back to the hole. When Stanley returns, Zigzag points to the bit of dirt that fell off of Stanley's shovel when he fell. He insists that it's Stanley's dirt and is covering up his own dirt. After Stanley moves it, Zigzag begins digging again.
Zigzag’s petty behavior illustrates poignantly how the cruelty of Camp Green Lake creates a system in which the boys feel they can't actually look out for each other: doing so would mean doing more backbreaking work than is absolutely necessary.
Themes
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
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