Holes

Holes

by

Louis Sachar

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God's Thumb Symbol Analysis

God's Thumb Symbol Icon

God's Thumb, which Stanley also refers to as Big Thumb, is a rock formation in the mountains several miles away from Camp Green Lake. It looks like a fist making a thumbs-up sign on a massive scale. It comes to represent the sentience of nature within the world of the novel, especially as Stanley and Zero begin their journey towards it. Stanley in particular feels as though the rock is encouraging him and urging him on. Stanley, Zero, and the first Stanley all survive thanks to the water and onions available around the rock formation. This suggests that nature's benevolence is reserved for those who are willing to look for it and respect the natural world. On the other hand, God's Thumb is barely visible from Camp Green Lake, an area that has been effectively abandoned by nature, unless one is specifically looking for it.

God's Thumb Quotes in Holes

The Holes quotes below all refer to the symbol of God's Thumb. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Holes published in 1998.
Part 2, Chapter 34 Quotes

He kept walking toward it, although he didn't know why. He knew he'd have to turn around before he got there. But every time he looked at it, it seemed to encourage him, giving him the thumbs-up sign.

Related Characters: Stanley Yelnats, Zero/Hector Zeroni
Related Symbols: God's Thumb
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 38 Quotes

Higher and higher he climbed. His strength came from somewhere deep inside himself and also seemed to come from the outside as well. After focusing on Big Thumb for so long, it was as if the rock had absorbed his energy and now acted like a kind of giant magnet pulling him toward it.

Related Characters: Stanley Yelnats, Zero/Hector Zeroni
Related Symbols: God's Thumb
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:
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God's Thumb Symbol Timeline in Holes

The timeline below shows where the symbol God's Thumb appears in Holes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 21
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...the first Stanley, he was insane and only said that "he found refuge on God's thumb." After he recovered, he had no idea what that meant. Stanley hears a twitching sound... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 29
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...of lightning illuminates a rock formation that Stanley thinks looks like a fist making a thumbs-up sign. He thinks of the first Stanley, who said he survived on God's Thumb in... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 30
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
...helps. He still feels awkward about it, though. As the sun rises, Stanley looks for God's Thumb in the distance. He realizes that he's probably close to where Kate Barlow robbed the... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 31
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...he doesn't. He digs Zero's hole alone, wondering if maybe they could make it to God's Thumb where there's possibly water. Stanley thinks that even if they made it there, they'd still... (full context)
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Power, Money, and Education Theme Icon
...he digs and even considers walking out to look. He hopes that Zero somehow found God's Thumb , just as the first Stanley did. He hopes there's still water there. When Stanley... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 33
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Stanley slows down when he realizes nobody is chasing him. He heads towards God's Thumb , but decides he will return to camp after everyone has calmed down. He reasons... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 34
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...mountains look impossibly far away, though Stanley feels like the mountains are giving him the thumbs-up sign to encourage him on. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 36
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
...are. Not long after they set off, Zero has another episode. Stanley feels as though God's Thumb isn't getting any closer and realizes that even if they do make it, they'll have... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Zero wonders what's at the top of God's Thumb , and Stanley suggests there's probably an Italian restaurant there. The boys joke about what... (full context)
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...rest of the way up. The sun looks like it's resting on the top of God's Thumb . (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 37
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...there are weeds and bugs, and he tells Zero this. Zero smiles, flashes Stanley a thumbs-up, and collapses. He doesn't move when Stanley shakes him. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 38
Fate and Destiny Theme Icon
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...in the air as the ground levels off. Stanley looks in front of him; the thumb no longer looks like a thumb and it's far too big to climb. He feels... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 39
Cruelty vs. Kindness Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Stanley wakes up in a meadow, staring up at the thumb. Finally, he rolls over to look at his water hole and discovers two inches of... (full context)