Holes

Holes

by

Louis Sachar

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Holes: Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Stanley doesn't use soap in the shower; he's too tired. After putting on his clean set of clothes, he grabs his stationery and heads to the rec room. The sign on the door says "WRECK ROOM" and everything inside is broken. X-Ray and Armpit play pool on a pitted pool table as Stanley heads towards them. He trips over someone's leg, and the kid turns out to be big and belligerent. X-Ray and Armpit step to Stanley's side and say that nobody should mess with the Caveman. They finally lead Stanley to a couch and tell him that Caveman is tough.
The Wreck Room is indicative of the boys' position at Camp Green Lake. They have so little power to stand up for themselves or make any of their own decisions, and the only place they have control over anything is in the Wreck Room. The fact that they destroy it makes it clear that cruelty and violence reign at camp, given that they choose to act destructively in the one place in which they have a choice.
Themes
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Squid joins the boys and asks Stanley how his day was. Stanley parrots that the first hole is the hardest, but X-Ray says the second one is harder: Stanley will hurt before he's even begun. X-Ray says the fun is gone too; he thinks that every kid secretly wants to dig a hole to China, but the fun wears off fast. When Squid asks about Stanley's stationery, Stanley explains he's going to write to Stanley’s mother. Stanley looks around the room, in awe of the fact that the boys destroyed the one place at camp where they could enjoy themselves.
X-Ray's suggestion that every kid wants to dig to China makes it clear that the boys at Camp Green Lake are actually just boys, not adults—they're being robbed of their childhoods as they serve their sentences. When Stanley is in awe that the Wreck Room is destroyed, it sets him apart from the other boys and shows that, at this point, he's still a good, kind kid who doesn't yet struggle with anger.
Themes
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Stanley writes in his letter that he's making friends and learning to swim. He stops when he senses that someone is reading over his shoulder, so he turns to find Zero behind him. Stanley explains he doesn't want Stanley's mother to worry. Zero looks serious and possibly angry as he asks if "the shoes" had red X marks on the back. Stanley realizes he's talking about Clyde Livingston's shoes and wonders if Zero may have seen Livingston in a commercial for the brand. Armpit calls Caveman for dinner, and Stanley realizes that he's Caveman. He reasons it's a better name than Barf Bag.
When Stanley pretends that camp is fun for his mother's sake, it again shows how kind Stanley is: he wants to make his mother feel better about Stanley's fate, especially since she was unable to protect him from the justice system. Note too that Stanley assumes that Zero saw Clyde Livingston in a TV commercial; this suggests that Stanley isn't aware that anyone at Camp Green Lake may have lived in dire poverty, as he'll eventually learn that Zero did.
Themes
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon