Holes

Holes

by

Louis Sachar

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Holes: Part 1, Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The narrator explains that 110 years ago, Green Lake was the largest lake in Texas. Every Fourth of July, the town would host a picnic and award prizes for the best peach pies and jams. Miss Katherine Barlow always won a special prize for her delicious spiced peaches. She was the only schoolteacher and even though the schoolhouse was poorly maintained, her students loved her. In addition to teaching children, she taught adults during the evenings. The young men were all interested in Miss Katherine romantically, but she made sure they learned.
In particular, the fact that Miss Katherine presumably spends her whole day teaching (kids during the day and adults at night) suggests that she's a firm believer in the value of education. Her spiced peaches suggest also that she has a good and respectful relationship with nature, given that she can use nature's bounty in a noninvasive way to do well in the manmade world.
Themes
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Related Quotes
One of these young men was Charles "Trout" Walker, whose nickname came from his incurable foot fungus that made his feet smell like dead fish. Most people in Green Lake expected Miss Katherine to marry Trout Walker, as his family was the wealthiest in the area. However, Trout never paid attention during the night classes. He was loud and stupid. Miss Katherine didn't care that her other adult pupils were uneducated since most of them still wanted to learn, but Trout was proud to be uneducated. One evening, he invited her out on his new motorized boat. She declined; the boat was noisy and spewed black smoke. Trout was angry, as he'd never been denied anything he wanted before.
The way that the narrator describes Trout Walker's motorized boat positions him and his family as being somewhat in opposition to nature; the motorized boat, by its very nature, pollutes the air and the water and apparently destroys the peace and quiet of the lake. When combined with Trout's disdain for education, it suggests that Trout, like the Warden, seeks to gain power through money, exploitation, and reputation alone.
Themes
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Related Quotes