Holes

Holes

by

Louis Sachar

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Holes: Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Stanley is assigned to D tent and meets his counselor, Mr. Pendanski. He doesn't look nearly as scary as Mr. Sir, though he assures Stanley 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 he's not a bad kid, even if he has made mistakes, Stanley thinks it's not even worth it to tell him he's innocent.
Stanley's decision to not even try to talk to Mr. Pendanski about his innocence shows that, at this point, Stanley believes that nobody will ever help him get justice: his resignation to his fate suggests that he's given up entirely on the formal justice system, which in turn indicates that he'll need to rely on other forms of justice.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Two boys, caked in dirt and dripping with sweat, enter the compound. Mr. Pendanski calls them over and they're so dirty that Stanley can barely tell that one boy is black and the other is white. Mr. Pendanski introduces Stanley to Rex and Alan, but the boys introduce themselves as X-Ray and Squid. Mr. Pendanski assigns Stanley a cot that X-Ray says was previously inhabited by a boy named Barf Bag. Squid fetches four other boys, three of whom Mr. Pendanski introduces as José, Theodore, and Ricky (but they call themselves Magnet, Armpit, and Zigzag). The boys and Mr. Pendanski call the last boy Zero, and Mr. Pendanski explains that Zero has nothing in his head. Finally, Armpit introduces Mr. Pendanski as “Mom.”
The nicknames (which the boys choose themselves or assign to each other) allow the boys to differentiate themselves from the adults, suggesting that there's a divide between the adults who go by their real names and the kids who don't. It's important to note that even as Mr. Pendanski seems nicer than Mr. Sir, he's still extremely callous towards Zero and clearly thinks little of him. This suggests that even "kindness" at Camp Green Lake is tainted and not to be taken at face value.
Themes
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Mr. Pendanski gives the campers a speech about taking care of Stanley and then leaves. The other boys head out to shower and as they go, Stanley asks Theodore where he can fill his canteen. Theodore angrily grabs Stanley's collar, spits that Stanley has to call him Armpit, and tells him where the water spigot is.
By insisting that Stanley use his nickname, Armpit is asking Stanley for a kindness of sorts: to see Armpit how Armpit wants to be seen. However, the way he goes about asking for this again shows that kindness in pure form doesn't exist at Camp Green Lake.
Themes
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon