Holes

Holes

by

Louis Sachar

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Holes: Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As Stanley steps off the bus, the driver tells him to be careful. Stanley thanks the driver for the ride, feeling parched and sweaty. The guard leads Stanley to a small building. Inside, a man wearing a cowboy hat and sunglasses sits at a desk, eating sunflower seeds and drinking soda. When the guard comments on the seeds, the man explains they help him quit smoking. The man gives the guard sodas and sends him away. Finally, the man turns to Stanley and introduces himself as Mr. Sir. He tells Stanley that he's not in the Girl Scouts anymore.
When Stanley thanks the driver, it shows that Stanley is, at heart, a kind person who understands the power of acknowledging everyone for the work they do. This casts Stanley as a direct foil to the Warden, who thus far appears to be someone who thinks only of herself. Mr. Sir's actions show that he's more in line with the Warden, as he seems to care little for Stanley.
Themes
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Stanley changes into an orange jumpsuit and orange tee shirt, and is also given an orange cap and an empty canteen. Mr. Sir explains that Stanley will be expected to dig a hole every single day that's five feet deep and five feet across, beginning at 4:30am. Mr. Sir says that this is to escape the heat of the day, and he tells Stanley to report anything "interesting" to him or another counselor. With this, Mr. Sir leads Stanley outside. He asks if Stanley sees any fences or guard towers (there are none). He then explains that they don't need them—Camp Green Lake has the only water for miles around. Noticing Stanley eyeing his gun, Mr. Sir assures him he won't shoot him: the gun is for the yellow-spotted lizards and Stanley doesn't warrant wasting a bullet.
The set up of Camp Green Lake positions manual labor as being in direct opposition to education or other types of reform. This suggests that at camp, one's ability to perform this manual labor is all they'll be valued for. Mr. Sir's assurance that the gun is for the lizards again makes it very clear that Mr. Sir doesn't value the lives of the campers, as he basically says that it's not even worth attempting to keep them at camp with violence. This shows that selfishness and cruelty reign at Camp Green Lake.
Themes
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
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