Study Guide
by Andrew Clausen
For the novel by
Louis Sachar
Grades 6–8 Reproducible Pages #324
Study Guide
by Andrew Clausen
© 2002 Progeny Press 1
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Holes Study Guide
A Progeny Press Study Guide
by Andrew Clausen
edited by Rebecca Gilleland
Copyright © 2002 Progeny Press
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2 © 2002 Progeny Press
Study Guide Author
Andrew Clausen has been with Progeny Press since its inception as both a writer and
editor of study guides. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire
with a Bachelors Degree in Communications and Journalism. An avid reader and fan
of childrens literature, Holes is one of his favorite books of recent years for its mix of
, mystery, and surrealism. When not reading, he enjoys hiking, birding, and
digging holes in his garden.
Holes Study Guide
© 2002 Progeny Press 3
Peer Review Panel
The Rev. Michael S. Poteet is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently pastoring a congrega-
tion in Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania. A native Texan, Mr. Poteet earned an undergraduate degree in English and
Religion at the College of William and Mary in Virginia and earned his Masters of Divinity degree at Princeton
Theological Seminary. In addition to writing for Progeny Press, Mr. Poteet also is an aspiring science fiction writer; his
first professionally published short story appeared in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds II (Pocket Books, May 1999). He is
married and has one child.
Calvin Roso is a full-time instructor at O
ral Roberts University and consults Christian schools in the area of curriculum
design and evaluation. He has taught high school English for nine years and teaches workshops in the United States and
Latin America on the topics of literature and curriculum. In addition to writing several study guides, Mr. Roso has pub-
lished a number of articles on curriculum for Christian schools. He earned his Bachelors Degree in English Education
from the University of Wisconsin—Madison and a Masters Degree in Education from Oral Roberts University, where
he is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education.
Janice DeLong is Associate Professor of Education at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where she teaches chil-
s literature and supervises student teachers. Prior to coming to Liberty, she served on faculties in both public and
private schools and has experience in homeschooling, as well. Her husband, Robert, teaches psychology at Liberty. They
are parents of four children. Mrs. DeLong is co-author of three books: Core Collection for Small Libraries, Contemporary
Christian Authors, and Young Adult Poetry: A Survey and
Theme Guide.
Peer Review Panel membership as of May 2002.
Holes Study Guide
4 © 2002 Progeny Press
Table of Contents
Study Guide Author .................................................................................................3
Peer Review Panel .....................................................................................................4
Note to Instructor .....................................................................................................6
Synopsis ....................................................................................................................7
About the Author ......................................................................................................8
Suggestions for Pre-reading Activities ......................................................................10
Chapters 1–6 ..........................................................................................................12
Chapters 7–9 ...........................................................................................................19
Chapters 10–15 ......................................................................................................25
Chapters 16–22 ......................................................................................................32
Chapters 23–28 ......................................................................................................37
Chapters 29–35 ......................................................................................................41
Chapters 36–42 ......................................................................................................47
Chapters 43–50 ......................................................................................................55
Crossword Puzzle Review ........................................................................................61
Overview ................................................................................................................63
Suggestions for Post-reading Activities ....................................................................67
Additional Resources ..............................................................................................69
Answer Key .............................................................................................................71
Holes Study Guide
© 2002 Progeny Press 5
*Answer Key is located in separate folder.
Note to Instructor
How to Use Progeny Press Study Guides. Progeny Press study guides are designed
to help students better understand and enjoy literature by getting them to notice and
understand how authors craft their stories and to show them how to think through
the themes and ideas introduced in the stories. To properly work through a Progeny
Press study guide, students should have easy access to a good dictionary, a thesaurus, a
Bible (we use NIV translation, but that is up to your preference; just be aware of some
differences in language), and sometimes a topical Bible or concordance. Supervised
access to the Internet also can be helpful at times, as can a good set of encyclopedias.
Most middle grades and high school study guides take from eight to ten weeks
to complete, generally working on one section per week. Over the years, we have
found that it works best if the students completely read the novel the first week, while
also working on a prereading activity chosen by the parent or teacher. Starting the sec-
ond week, most parents and teachers have found it works best to work on one study
guide page per day until the chapter sections are completed. Students should be
allowed to complete questions by referring to the book; many questions require some
cross-reference between elements of the stories.
Most study guides contain an Overview section that can be used as a final test,
or it can be completed in the same way the chapter sections were completed. If you
wish to perform a final test but your particular study guide does not have an
Overview section, we suggest picking a couple of questions from each section of the
study guide and using them as your final test.
Most study guides also have a final section of essays and postreading activities.
These may be assigned at the parents’ or teachers’ discretion, but we suggest that stu-
dents engage in several writing or other extra activities during the study of the novel
to complement their reading and strengthen their writing skills.
As for high school credits, most Christian high schools with whom we have
spoken have assigned a value of one-fourth credit to each study guide, and this also
seems to be acceptable to colleges assessing homeschool transcripts.
Internet References
All websites listed in this study guide were checked for appropriateness at the time of
publication. However, due to the changing nature of the Internet, we cannot guarantee
that the URLs listed will r
emain appropriate or viable. Therefore, we urge parents and
teachers to take care in and exercise careful oversight of their childrens use of the Internet.
Holes Study Guide
6 © 2002 Progeny Press
Sentenced to a crime he did not commit, Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake,
a juvenile detention camp. But there is no lake at Camp Green Lake; only a dried-up
lake bed. Every morning, the boys at Camp Green Lake are sent out to the lake bed
where they are made to dig a hole five feet deep and five feet wide. “Youre digging to
build character,” the counselors tell Stanley.
As Stanley digs holes under the hot Texas sun, readers dig into Stanleys family
history and the tale of Stanleys great-great-grandfather, Elya Yelnats. Elyas desire to
marry the beautiful (but empty-headed) Myra Menke puts him on the receiving end
of a family curse when he fails to fulfill a promise made to Madame Zeroni. Though
Stanley doesnt really believe in the family curse, he is quick to blame his great-great-
grandfather for all his bad luck. It feels good to be able to blame someone.
Readers also learn about the history of the town of Green Lake and the tragic
incident that drov
e the town schoolteacher to become Kissin’ Kate Barlow, the notori-
ous bandit who once robbed Stanleys great-grandfather and left him in the desert to
As he continues to dig holes, Stanley begins to suspect that he and the other
boys at Camp Green Lake are being made to look for something—something that the
camps warden wants.
The mystery of the wardens secret desire, the history of the town of Green
Lake, and Stanleys own family history all fit together like pieces of a puzzle as choices
made in the past continue to have an effect on the present. Soon Stanleys very life
depends on events that happened over 100 years ago.
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© 2002 Progeny Press 7
About the Author
Louis Sachar (pronounced “SACK-er”) was born in 1954 in East Meadow, New York.
When he was nine years old, his family moved to California. He enjoyed school, espe-
cially math, but in high school, he developed an intense love of reading.
After high school he attended college in Ohio for one year, but upon the death
of his father, he returned to California. He worked briefly as a door-to-door salesman
before returning to school at Berkeley College in California. He majored in econom-
ics, but also took creative writing courses and continued to indulge his love of reading.
His enjoyment of Russian literature prompted him to enroll in Russian classes so he
could read these novels in their original language. After a year of study, he felt he was
still unable to grasp the language, and he dropped out of his Russian classes.
At this point fate intervened. While looking for another course to take, an ele-
mentary school girl handed Sachar a leaflet recruiting teachers aides for her school.
When he learned that it would earn him the three credits he lost dropping the Russian
class, he signed on to become a teachers aide. His enjoyable experiences working with
children inspired him to write a book of short, interrelated stories about a fictional
school called “Wayside.” Sachar recalls, “I probably had more fun writing that book
than any of my others, because it was just a hobby then, and I never truly expected it
to be published.”
After graduating from Berkeley in 1976, he continued working on his Wayside
School stories and sent off his manuscript at the same time he applied to law school.
The book, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, was accepted for publication during
his first week at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. For the next few years
he struggled o
ver being a writer or a lawyer. When he learned he had passed the bar
exam, allowing him to practice law, he was not as excited as his classmates. He was
still unsure of what he wanted to do.
Sachar practiced law part-time to support himself while continuing to write chil-
drens books. His next few books, Johnnys in the Basement, Someday Angeline, Theres a
Boy in the Gir
l’s Bathroom, and Sixth Grade Secrets were all written while Sachar prac-
ticed law. In 1989, he made his decision to devote himself to writing full time.
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8 © 2002 Progeny Press
For his next book, Sachar returned to familiar territory with Sideways
Arithmetic from Wayside School. Three more collections of Wayside School stories fol-
lowed. S
achar also wrote a series of chapter books for younger children, featuring the
character of Marvin Redpost.
In 1999, Louis Sachar won the Newbery Medal for Holes, his 17th book for
children. Holes was par
tly inspired by the extreme Texas heat Sachar experienced when
he and his family moved to Austin. It took him 18 months to write Holes—coinci-
dently the same length of time Stanley was sentenced to Camp Gr
een Lake.
Sachar still lives in Austin, Texas, and continues to write books for children.
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© 2002 Progeny Press 9
Suggestions for Pre-reading Activities
Family History: With the help of some older members of your family, create a
family tree. (Use the worksheet on the next page.) For how many generations
back can you supply names? What details do you know about the oldest gener-
ation on your family tree?
Family Stories: Are there any stories about your family that have been handed
wn through generations? Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles to
share some stories about your family. You may wish to interview family mem-
bers and record them as they tell the stories.
Juvenile Detention Centers: Find out about juvenile detention centers close to
your home. W
rite a brief report describing the facility. Why are juvenile offend-
ers sent there? What is required of the young people kept there? How much
freedom do they have? Does the detention center have teachers and educational
Prison Ministries: There are many different ministries that work with prisoners.
Find a prison ministry operating close to y
our home. Write a brief report
describing that organizations purpose and activities. If you cannot find a local
ministry, see what information you can find about one of the nationally recog-
nized organizations, such as Prison Fellowship Ministries.
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10 © 2002 Progeny Press
Family Tree
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© 2002 Progeny Press 11
Chapters 1–6
For each blank below, choose a word or phrase from the word box that comes closest
in meaning to the underlined word preceding it. Not all the words in the word box
will be used.
Word Box
disgraceful humid uninhabited clean
wealth persistence fertile populated
unfertile suffocating cluttered unusual
1. The bus wasnt air-conditioned, and the hot, heavy air was as stifling
( ) as the handcuffs.
2. To be an inventor you need three things: intelligence, persev
( ) and just a little bit of luck.
3. The land was barr
en ( ) and desolate.
( ) He could see a few rundown buildings and some
4. Theodore spit a thin line of saliva between his teeth, causing some of the other
boys to complain about the need to keep their “home” sanitar
( )
5. The judge called Stanleys crime despicable
. ( )
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12 © 2002 Progeny Press
Introducing the Characters:
1. An author will usually begin a novel by introducing readers to the various char-
acters, and in particular, to the novel’s protagonist. The protagonist is a novel’s
main character. Who is the pr
otagonist of Holes?
2. List five character traits that describe the protagonist of Holes.
3. Write a paragraph describing the novel’s protagonist, using the characters name
and the five character traits you listed in the pr
evious exercise.
4. One of the ways we learn about a character is by comparing or contrasting that
character with another character. Both Mr. Sir and Mr. Pendanski are coun-
selors at Camp Green Lake. How are Mr. Sir and Mr. Pendanski different?
(Consider the difference between the way each of the counselors treats Stanley.)
5. Which of the two counselors do you like better? Why?
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© 2002 Progeny Press 13
6. Below is a list of the boys from D tent. Match the nickname of each boy with
his real name.
ickname Real Name
a. X-Ray ___ Lewis
b. Squid ___ Theodore
c. Barf Bag ___ José
d. Zero ___ Rex
e. Armpit ___ Ricky
f. Zigzag ___ Alan
g. Magnet ___ Unknown
1. Why was Stanley arrested?
2. How long is Stanleys sentence?
3. What does Stanleys father do? What is his latest project?
4. How did Stanleys great-grandfather make his fortune? How did he lose it?
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14 © 2002 Progeny Press
5. What must the boys at Camp Green Lake do each day?
6. Why arent there guard towers or a fence around Camp Green Lake?
Thinking About the Story:
7. Irony is a difference between appearance and reality, or between what is
expected and what actually occurs. An author can use irony to surprise readers
or for a humorous or satirical effect.
What is ironic about the name “Camp Green Lake”?
8. Who do Stanley and his father blame for their bad luck? Why?
When they reflect on the story of the first Stanley Yelnats, Stanleys great-grand-
father, Stanley and his father tend to focus on his bad luck. How was Stanleys
great-grandfather unlucky?
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© 2002 Progeny Press 15
10. Stanleys mother tends to focus on his good luck instead of his bad luck. How
was Stanleys great-grandfather lucky?
11. Which set of facts about Stanleys great-grandfather seems most important to
you? His good luck or his bad luck?
Dig Deeper:
12. Describe Stanleys experiences at school. If you were Stanley, how would these
experiences affect you?
13. What is destiny? How does destiny compare to the concept of “luck”?
When Clyde Livingston
s sneakers fell from the sky, Stanley “felt like he was
holding destinys shoes.” What does this tell us about how Stanley viewed the
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16 © 2002 Progeny Press
14. How do you react when you have “bad luck”?
The author writes that in spite of all their bad luck, Stanleys family always
remained hopeful. They reasoned, however, that if they werent always hopeful
it wouldnt hurt so much when their hopes were crushed.
Which of the following best describes your outlook? Which of the fol-
lowing do you think is the best outlook to have? Why?
“Hope for the best; expect the best.”
“Hope for the best; expect the worst.”
“Hope for the best; have no expectations.”
“Do not hope; have no expectations.”
There is no hope.”
15. Reread the song that Stanleys father sang to him. What feelings or emotions
are expressed in the song?
The song repeats the phrase “if only.” How do people use the phrase “if only”?
Do they generally use it to reflect on how things might have been, or how
things could be? Does this song express hope?
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16. Isaiah 40:28–31 and Jeremiah 17:7–8 talk about having hope and trust in God.
Read these verses. What promises for those who place their hope in God are
found in these verses?
17. We often use the word hope as a synonym for wish. For example, people will say
they hope the weather will be favorable. In the Bible, however, the word hope is
often used as a synonym for confidence. To “have hope” means to wait confi-
dently, with expectation. (Compare, for example, differ
ent translations of
Jeremiah 17:7 and Isaiah 40:31 to see how the original Hebrew words are
translated to convey the idea of hope as confidence and expectation.)
Read Romans 4:18–5:5. How does the idea of hope as having confidence
affect your understanding of this passage? Write one or two paragraphs explain-
ing your thoughts on these verses.
Optional Exercise:
Stanleys full name—Stanley Yelnats—is a palindrome. A palindrome is a word or
phrase that reads the same forward as it does backward. The names “Bob” and “Anna
are both palindromes. Here are some other palindromes:
A nut for a jar of tuna.
Dennis sinned.
Dont nod.
No lemons, no melon.
So many dynamos.
What would your name be if it was a palindrome structured like Stanley’s? (That is, if
your last name were your first name backwards?) Try to compose some palindromes of
your own.
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Chapters 7–9
Define the underlined words as they are used in each of the passages below. Then tell
whether the word is being used as a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb.
1. He glanced helplessly at his shovel. It wasnt defectiv
e. He was defective.
Part of Speech:
2. H
e unearthed several shovelfuls of dirt in this manner, before it occurred to
him that he was dumping his dirt within the perimeter
of his hole.
Part of Speech:
3. He popped some sunflower seeds into his mouth, deftly
removed the shells
with his teeth, and spat them into Stanleys hole.
Part of Speech:
4. Why not let Myra decide?” suggested Elya. “That’s pr
eposterous!” exclaimed
Igor, expelling saliva as he spoke.
Part of Speech:
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© 2002 Progeny Press 19
5. He grimaced as he sliced off a chunk of dirt, then raised it up and flung it onto
a pile.
Part of Speech:
6. Stanley leaned back against the torn vinyl upholster
Part of Speech:
7. Despite his shower, his body still radiated
Part of Speech:
8. Zero stared at him for a moment, with the same intensity
with which he had
been staring at the letter.
Part of Speech:
1. What are the boys supposed to do if they find anything “interesting or
unusual” while digging their holes? What is the potential reward?
2. Who is Elya Yelnats?
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20 © 2002 Progeny Press
3. Why does Elya Yelnats go to see Madame Zeroni?
4. What advice does Madame Zeroni give Elya?
5. In spite of her feelings, Madame Zeroni agrees to help Elya win the hand of
Myra Menke by giving him a runt piglet. What does she instruct Elya to do
with the piglet? Why?
6. What part of the agreement does Elya fail to keep? What does Madame Zeroni
say will happen if Elya doesnt keep his promise?
Thinking About the Story:
7. A flashback is a literary device by which an author presents scenes or incidents
that happened before the beginning of the story. What flashback is found in
Chapter 7? How does the story related in this flashback differ from Stanley’s
understanding of how the family came to be cursed?
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© 2002 Progeny Press 21
8. Why do you think Elya tells Myra to marry Igor?
9. Why does Elya fail to keep his promise to Madame Zeroni? Why does he look
for Madame Zeroni’s son once he arrives in America?
10. Elya sings the “pig lullaby” to his new wife. Where have we encountered the pig
lullaby before in the story? How was the pig lullaby different the first time we
heard it? Why do you think the two versions weve heard are different?
11. After digging his first hole, Stanley feels proud. “He knew it was nothing to be
proud of, but he felt proud nonetheless.” Why do you think Stanley feels this
12. Foreshadowing is when an author gives hints or clues suggesting what will hap-
pen later in a stor
y. Chapter 8 is entir
ely dedicated to the description of yellow-
spotted lizards. What might the author be foreshadowing by devoting an entire
chapter to details about the yellow-spotted lizards?
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22 © 2002 Progeny Press
Chapter 8 ends with the author letting readers know that yellow-spotted lizards
eat, among other things, “the shells of sunflower seeds.” What might be the sig-
nificance of this? What might the author be foreshadowing?
13. What nickname do the boys give Stanley? Why do you think they give him this
Dig Deeper:
14. What do you think are important qualities to look for in a spouse? What quali-
ties does Elyas love for Myra seem to be based on?
15. What does Madame Zeroni cite as Myra Menkes failings?
16. Read Proverbs 31:10–31. How do the qualities mentioned in these verses com-
pare or contrast with Myra Menkes qualities?
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© 2002 Progeny Press 23
17. The author writes that Elya thought nothing of the curse. He was just 15, and
even a week seemed like an “eternity” to him. What dangers do you think there
are in not considering the future?
18. Read Proverbs 16:1–4, 9; Proverbs 19:20–21; and Jeremiah 29:11–13. What
do these verses tell us about how the plans of people relate to the plans of God?
19. Considering the above verses, do you think it makes any sense to bother plan-
ning for the future? (Consider also Matthew 6:19–21, Matthew 7:24–27, 2
Corinthians 4:16–18, and Hebrews 10:23–25.)
Go Figure:
The formula for finding the volume of a cylinder is π×r
× h, where r = the radius of
the cylinder, and h = the height. The holes the boys dig must be five feet deep with a
diameter of five feet. Approximately how many cubic feet of dir
t must be dug to cre-
ate a hole with these dimensions? Round the answer to one decimal place.
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24 © 2002 Progeny Press
Chapters 10–15
Define each of the following words, then use it in a sentence to demonstrate your
knowledge of its meaning.
1. arced
2. fossilized
3. metallic
4. engraved
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© 2002 Progeny Press 25
5. excavated
6. paranoid
1. In Chapter 10, what does Stanley find while digging?
2. What happens when Stanley reports his find to Mr. Pendanski?
3. Describe the object that Stanley digs up in Chapter 13. What letters are inscribed
on it? What do you think the object is and what do you think the letters mean?
4. Describe the Wardens physical appearance. Describe the Wardens behavior and
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26 © 2002 Progeny Press
5. What does the Warden order the boys to do?
6. What do you think the Warden is looking for? How did Stanley know that they
wouldnt find what the Warden was looking for?
Thinking About the Story:
7. Why does Stanley agree to give anything he might find to X-Ray? Do you
think this was wise?
8. What did it mean to Stanley to be given a nickname like the other boys?
9. At the end of Chapter 13, X-Ray tells Stanley to move up one place in line.
What might this indicate?
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10. An author will use repetition—the repeated use of a word or phrase—to empha-
size an idea. What sentence is repeated three times in the first six paragraphs of
Chapter 13? What is being emphasized through this repetition?
11. Personification is the assigning of human characteristics or behavior to inani-
mate or abstract things. Identify the personification in the following passage
om the novel:
A cloud had appeared earlier in the day. It was the first cloud he
could remember seeing since coming to Camp Green Lake. He
and the other boys had been watching it all day, hoping it would
move in front of the sun. Occasionally it got close, but it was just
teasing them.
Dig Deeper:
12. Use a dictionary to define fatalism. How does it differ from the concept of self-
determination? Does Mr. Pendanski’s advice to the bo
ys in Chapter 12 express a
belief in self-determination or fatalism? Explain your answer with examples
from the book.
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28 © 2002 Progeny Press
13. Does Stanley express a belief in self-determination or fatalism? Explain your
answer with examples from the book.
14. Do you, personally, believe that you control your own destiny, or is your destiny
controlled by some outside force? Briefly explain why you believe as you do.
Class Discussions:
1. The concepts of fatalism and self-determination have been discussed by philoso-
phers for centuries. Many Christians believe that the course of a persons life is
completely directed by God (rather than the more vague notion of “fate”). They
believe in the concept of “predestination,” or the notion that God sets the eter-
nal destiny for each persons life. Others believe that people have free will to
make their own choices apart from the will of God and are therefore responsible
for their own eternal fate. There is a great deal of middle ground between these
extremes, taking into account both Gods sovereignty and mankind’s free will.
After considering your response to question 14, participate in a class dis-
cussion on the question of whether the course of a persons life is “predestined
or whether each person freely chooses his or her own fate. Here are some verses
that may help direct your discussion.
A fe
w verses that support predestination: Psalm 139:1–4, 13–16; Proverbs
16:4, 9; Proverbs 19:21; Jeremiah 1:4–5; John 15:16; Romans 8:28–30;
Ephesians 1:4–12; Ephesians 2:8–10.
A fe
w verses that support free will and personal responsibility: Proverbs
1:29–33; Matthew 7:21–23; Romans 10:9–13; Romans 11:20–23.
Students are encouraged to do their own research.
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© 2002 Progeny Press 29
2. In Chapter 12, Mr. Pendanski talks to the boys about the day they will leave
Camp Green Lake. He asks them what they enjoy doing and what they want to
do with their lives. Discuss what you like and what you want to do in the
future. What careers would correspond to the things you enjoy doing?
Optional Activity:
Pig Latin:
In Chapter 11, X-Ray reveals that his nickname is just pig latin for “Rex,” his real
name. Pig latin is a pretend language created by the transposition of letters in a word.
To change a word into pig latin, remove all the letters up to the first vowel in a word.
Place the removed consonants at the end of the word. Then add the suffix “ay.”
For example:
REX = EX + R + AY
= Exray
Remember that all letters up to the first vowel in a word are removed and
placed at the end of that word. Sometimes that may be one letter, as above.
Sometimes it may be more than one letter:
= Anleystay
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If a word already begins with a vowel, some people will add “way” to the end of
a word instead of just “ay”:
ELYA + WAY = Elyaway
Using the rules described here, write down the “pig latin” names of the rest of
the boys in Group D.
a. Theodore
b. José
c. Ricky
d. Alan
e. Zero
The following secret message is written in pig latin. See if you can decode it.
“Ifway ouyay indfay omethingsay
interestingway ilewhay iggingday,
easeplay eportray itway otay
ethay ardenway.”
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Chapters 16–22
Match each word in the left-hand column with its definition found in the right-hand
column. Not all definitions on the right will be used.
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32 © 2002 Progeny Press
1. ____ intently
2. ____ callused
3. ____ condemned
4. ____ toxic
5. ____ recede
6. ____ shrill
7. ____ writhed
8. ____ agony
9. ____ defiance
a. emitting a sharp or high-pitched sound
b. bitterness
c. intense pain; anguish
d. confusion
e. twisted or distorted
f. with attention or strong concentration
g. jumped or bounced
h. hardened or thickened, as with skin or tree bark.
i. resistance; willingness to fight
j. destined
k. misdirection
l. fearfully or cautiously
m. pronounced guilty; doomed
n. aimlessly
o. to move away or to grow smaller; diminish
p. poisonous
1. List three things we learn about Zero in this section of the novel.
2. What was the “special ingredient” in the Wardens nail polish?
3. How long had Stanleys great-grandfather survived in the desert before being
found by rattlesnake hunters? Where did he say he found refuge?
4. What arrangement does Stanley make with Zero?
5. At the end of Chapter 22, Stanley suddenly recognizes the object hed dug up.
What was it?
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Thinking About the Story:
6. How does the Wardens attitude toward the boys change as they continue dig-
ging and widening their holes in Chapters 16 and 17?
7. The author writes:
[Stanleys] muscles and hands werent the only parts of his body
that had toughened over the past several weeks. His heart had
hardened as well.
What does the author mean?
8. What does Stanley witness in the brief scene at the beginning of Chapter 19?
What does this tell us about Squid? What might this indicate about the other
boys in Group D?
9. What does Magnet steal from Mr. Sir? Why do you think Stanley takes the blame?
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10. When the Warden tells Stanley that Mr. Sir wont die, why do you think she
adds the phrase “Unfortunately for you”? What does she mean?
11. When Stanley returns from the wardens cabin, he discovers that the hole he
had been digging is nearly finished. What clue at the end of Chapter 21 tells us
that Zero is the one responsible for digging Stanleys hole?
Dig Deeper:
12. What was Stanleys opinion of Zero at the beginning of this section of reading?
What factors may have contributed to Stanley forming this opinion?
13. Think about the first time you met someone. What factors went into forming
your opinion of that person? Do you think you had a fair first impression?
How does your first impression compare with what you know now about that
14. Read 1 Samuel 1:1–18. What wrong first impression did Eli have about
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15. Read 1 Samuel 16:1–13. What lesson regarding first impressions can we learn
from this story?
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Chapters 23–28
1. Which chapters in this section of reading consist entirely of flashback?
2. Why was Charles Walker given the nickname “Trout”?
3. What was Katherine Barlows role in the town of Green Lake? What was Sams
4. Where did Sam get the onions he sold to the townspeople of Green Lake?
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5. List at least five ways that Sams onions were said to benefit people.
6. Why wasnt Sam allowed to attend Katherine Barlows classes?
7. How does Katherine Barlow die?
Thinking About the Story:
8. What repetition can you find in Chapter 25? What does this repetition
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9. Why do you think Hattie Parker said “God will punish you” when she saw Sam
kiss Katherine Barlow?
10. What is Zeros real name? What is the significance of Zeros real name to
Stanleys family history?
11. Look at the description of Green Lake that opens Chapter 23. How does the
Green Lake of 110 years ago compare or contrast with the Green Lake of the
12. How does the town of Green Lake change 20 years after Sam is killed?
Dig Deeper:
13. How did the whole town of Green Lake find out that Sam kissed Miss
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14. Read Leviticus 19:16 and Proverbs 16:28. How do these verses illustrate what
happened to Sam the onion man?
Questions for Discussion:
15. There are times when we should share information with someone else, and
there are times we should keep it to ourselves. How do you, personally, decide
what information should be shared, and what is simply gossip that should not
be spread? Read Matthew 12:34–37. How do these verses relate to gossiping?
16. Both Hattie Parker and the sheriff stated that God would punish Katherine
Barlow for kissing Sam. After relating the events of Chapter 26, the author
writes, “That all happened one hundred and ten years ago. Since then, not one
drop of rain has fallen on Green Lake. You make the decision: Whom did God
This story is, of course, a work of fiction. But consider this question seri-
ously, as if it really happened. Assuming that the lack of rain was a punishment
from God, in your opinion whose actions resulted in this punishment?
Optional Exercise:
Research paper: Do some research on “Jim Crow laws.” What were they? What effect
did Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) have on the Civil Rights Act of 1875? What effect did
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954) have? Collect your findings in a
one- to two-page research paper
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Chapters 29–35
A word is in context if we see it in the sentence in which it was written. It is out of con-
text when the word is by itself. Consider how each underlined vocabulary word is used
in context. Write a brief definition of each term in your own words. Compare your
definition to the dictionary definition.
1. No one ever knew what he meant by that. He was delirious
when he said it.
Your Definition:
Dictionary Definition
2. Mr. Sir was no longer depriving
him of water. After having to get by on less
water for a week or so, Stanley now felt like he had all the water he could want.
Your Definition:
Dictionary Definition
3. Stanley made a feeble
attempt to punch Zigzag, then he felt a flurry of fists
against his head and neck.
Your Definition:
Dictionary Definition:
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4. “Hes a ward of the state,” Mr. Pendanski told her. “He was living on the streets
when he was arrested.”
Your Definition:
Dictionary Definition:
5. There wasnt any water. It was a mirage
caused by the shimmering waves of heat
rising off the dry ground.
Your Definition:
Dictionary Definition:
6. “I tried to bring you the whole water truck, but,” he smiled sheepishly
, “I drove
it into a hole.”
Your Definition:
Dictionary Definition:
1. What does Stanley think he sees in the flashes of lightning?
2. How many holes has Stanley dug by July 8th? How has Stanley changed physi-
cally since he dug his first hole?
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3. Why do the other boys start to resent Stanley? How does Stanley justify this to
4. Why do the Warden and Mr. Pendanski tell Stanley to stop teaching Zero to
5. Why does the Warden tell the counselors not to shoot Zero after Zero hits Mr.
Pendanski with the shovel?
6. What does the Warden expect to happen to Zero?
7. How does the Warden plan to cover up the incident with Zero?
8. Who arrives at Camp Green Lake to take Zeros place in Group D? Why was
he sent to Camp Green Lake?
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9. Why does Stanley steal the water truck? What happens to the water truck?
10. Where does Stanley find Zero? How had Zero managed to survive?
11. What was the “sploosh” and where had it come from?
12. At the end of Chapter 35, Stanley considers returning to Camp Green Lake.
What deal does Stanley want to make with the Warden?
13. When Stanley asks Zero what the mountain looks like, how does Zero respond?
What does this confirm for Stanley?
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Thinking About the Story:
14. Chapter 29 is also the beginning of Part 2 of the novel. How do the opening
sentences of Chapter 29 suggest that there is a big change coming in the story?
15. When Zigzag begins punching Stanley, Mr. Pendanski tells Stanley to “teach
the bully a lesson” by hitting Zigzag back. Do you think this is a proper solu-
tion to a fight? If not, how would you have intervened?
16. Three times in Chapter 31, the phrase “It wasnt impossible” occurs. What isnt
impossible? Find two more uses of repetition in this section of reading.
17. At the beginning of Chapter 31, why is Stanley angry with himself? What
change in Stanleys attitude toward fate does this indicate?
18. How is this change demonstrated in Chapter 32?
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For Discussion:
In this section of reading, we see Stanley beginning to take action instead of
behaving passively. We also see Stanley taking responsibility for his actions
instead of just blaming things on bad luck or the family curse.
Read Matthew 12:36, Romans 14:10–12, and Hebrew 4:13. These
verses tell us that we will have to give an account before God for our words and
actions. How does this knowledge personally affect your behavior? Given this,
how should we live our lives?
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Chapters 36–42
Read the sentence from the book, then answer the question about the underlined word.
1. Unlike the eastern shore, where Camp Green Lake was situated
, the western
shore did not slope down gradually.
Another word for situated
is ____.
a. elevated
b. placated
c. located
d. constructed
2. He was able to lift Zero high enough for him to grab the pr
otruding slab of
A pr
uding slab of rock ____.
a. lies flat
b. sticks out
c. is loose
d. is hidden
3. If there was no water, no r
efuge, then theyd have nothing, not even hope.
A place of r
efuge offers ____.
a. food
b. friendship
c. safety
d. financial assistance
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4. It became too steep to go straight up. Instead they zigzagged back and forth,
increasing their altitude
by small increments every time they changed direc-
Another word for altitude
is ____.
a. elevation
b. ballast
c. gravity
d. air pressure
5. As the ground flattened, a huge stone pr
ecipice rose up ahead of him, just
barely visible in the moonlight.
A pr
ecipice is ____.
a. a monument carved from stone
b. the very steep face of a cliff or mountain
c. a canyon
d. a rocky valley
6. “I’m glad Beccas all right,” Hattie said contritely
To be contrite is to be ____.
a. snobby
b. worried
c. amused
d. repentant
Similes and Metaphors
Similes and metaphors are figures of speech that state or imply a comparison between
two unlike things that have something in common. A simile uses words such as like or
as to compare. For example, in Chapter 23 the author says that Gr
een Lake was “full
of clear cool water, and it sparkled like a giant emerald in the sun.” In this sentence, the
author uses a simile to compare the lake to an emerald.
A metaphor is a comparison of two different things where one thing is said to be
the other thing. For example, in the same chapter, the author writes that “Green Lake
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was ‘heaven on earthand that Miss Katherines spiced peaches were ‘food for the
angels.’” Here, the author uses two metaphors to compare Green Lake to heaven, and
the spiced peaches to food for angels.
Identify the comparison made in each passage below
. Then write an S in the
blank if the comparison is a simile, or an M in the blank if the comparison is a
metaphor. See the example below.
“Myras head is as empty as a flowerpot.”
Myra’s head is being compared to a flowerpot.
1. [Zigzags] head seemed to bob up and down on his neck, like it was on a
2. As Stanley made his way across the room, he tripped over an outstretched leg.
“Hey, watch it!” said an orange lump on a chair.
3. It was the first time Stanley had ever seen Zero smile. He usually had such an
angry expression on his face. Now he had such a huge smile it almost seemed
too big for his face, like the smile on a jack o’ lantern.
4. That part of [Stanleys] head, between his neck and ear, was considerably
swollen. There were no mirrors in camp, but he imagined he looked like he had
a hard-boiled egg sticking out of him.
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5. His real name was Charles Walker, but everyone called him Trout because his
two feet smelled like a couple of dead fish.
6. Onion Sam had turned the old run-down schoolhouse into a well-crafted,
freshly painted jewel of a building that the whole town was proud of.
7. When they reached flat ground, Stanley looked up to see the sun, a fiery ball
balancing on top of Big Thumb. God was twirling a basketball.
1. At the beginning of Chapter 36, what have Stanley and Zero resolved to do?
2. When Stanley considers the possibility of dying, what scares and worries him
the most?
3. How does Stanley realize theyd found a source of water?
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4. What else does Stanley find in the water hole?
5. What was Zeros “confession” to Stanley?
6. What does Stanley think when he sees how far hed climbed carrying Zero?
Thinking About the Story:
7. What is ironic about the boys’ conversation about Mary Lou?
8. As Stanley and Zero journey toward Big Thumb, they give each other the
thumbs-up sign. What is the generally accepted meaning of this gesture?
9. In literature, a symbol is something which stands for or suggests something else.
ymbolically, what does B
ig Thumb represent for Stanley and Zero?
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10. What had Elya Yelnats failed to do for Madame Zeroni? How does Stanley ful-
fill this promise four generations later?
11. In Chapter 42, Zero suggests that Big Thumb must have water in it, because
“[w]ater doesnt run uphill.” What is the significance of this statement?
12. Why do you think Stanley is happy to be in their current predicament?
13. As Zero tells his story in Chapter 41, Stanley sits eating an onion one layer at a
time. Halfway through Zeros story, the author interrupts to say, “Stanley
peeled off another layer of his onion.” How is peeling an onion an appropriate
metaphor for what is happening in Chapter 41?
Dig Deeper:
14. Read Hebrews 10:23–25. On their journey to Big Thumb, how do Stanley and
Zero encourage each other. List three ways that you can help encourage your
family and friends.
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15. As Stanley attempts to carry Zero up the mountain, the author writes, “He
thought only about each step, and not the impossible task that lay before him.”
How do you accomplish tasks that seem too large? Why is it often easier to
accomplish a large task “one step at a time”?
16. Read 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 and Philippians 4:12, 13. What promises found
in these verses can you keep in mind when working on a large task?
17. What attitude toward work is recommended in Colossians 3:23, 24. How do
you, personally, respond to this recommendation?
Optional Projects:
Onions are bulbs; we harvest them by digging them out of the ground. But
onions also produce very unique flowers. If its the right time of year, plant
onions in your garden and observe them as they grow. Or find someone who
does grow onions and ask to visit their garden to see the onions in bloom. Do
onion flowers smell like an onion? If it isnt possible to view onions in bloom,
see if you can find pictures in a book or magazine. Compare the flowers pro-
duced by the onion to the description in the novel. Compare different kinds of
onions. Also compare them to ornamental varieties that are not eaten but
grown just for the flowers.
Using colored pencils, create an illustration of an onion plant. Draw the
flowers, the leaves, and the bulb.
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List all the food items you can think of that contain onions. Gather some of
these items or prepare some dishes that contain onions. (Some suggested foods
include salsa, onion rings, onion soup, sour cream and onion-flavored potato
chips, stir-fry dishes, raw onions eaten on sandwiches, pizza, etc.) Prepare a
meal consisting entirely of onion dishes. What is your favorite way to eat
onions? What might it be like to eat onions at every meal?
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Chapters 43–50
Part One:
Synonyms are words that have nearly the same meaning as the original word; antonyms
have the opposite meaning. For each word listed below, demonstrate your understand-
ing of its meaning by providing an antonym and a synonym. In some cases, brief syn-
onymous or antonymous phrases ar
e acceptable.
Original Word Synonym Antonym
1. inexplicable ____________________ ____________________
2. indistinct _________________
___ ____________________
3. adjacent ____________________ ____________________
4. precarious ____________________ ____________________
5. authentic ____________________ ____________________
6. legitimate ____________________ ____________________
7. tedious ____________________ ____________________
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Part Two:
Define each of the underlined terms as they are used in the following sentences.
1. In her last letter
, his mom was worried that they might be evicted
from their
apartment because of the smell of burning sneakers.
2. That womans going to ask a lot of questions. The A.G. will most likely
an investigation.”
3. “I have the right to check the personal property of any of the detainees
4. “He is no longer under your jurisdiction
,” said Stanleys lawyer.
5. “You are released pursuant to
an order from the judge.”
6. “He was obviously incar
cerated for a reason.”
7. These consisted of stock certificates, deeds of trust, and pr
omissory notes.
1. Explain Stanley and Zeros plan for returning to Camp Green Lake.
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2. What else do we learn about Zero in Chapter 43?
3. How does Zero demonstrate his skill during their return trip?
4. What do Stanley and Zero dig up? What happens just as they lift it out of the
5. How does Stanley react when he hears that he was found innocent and his
lawyer had arrived to get him while he was gone?
6. What do the lizards do as the sun rises?
7. Why does Zero say “Satan” and then later “Sa-tan lee”?
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8. Who are the two people who arrive in the morning?
9. What does Stanley do with his share of the treasure? What does Zero do with
his share?
Thinking About the Story:
10. What do we learn about the Wardens childhood? What does this tell us about
how the Warden has spent her life?
11. Stanleys attorney refers to the Warden as “Ms. Walker.” What is significant
about the Wardens name?
12. Why does the suitcase have Stanleys name on it?
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13. Why werent Zero and Stanley bitten by the lizards?
14. Poetic justice is when justice is served in an especially appropriate or ironic man-
ner. For example, in H
amlet, Laertes uses a poisoned sword in a duel with
Hamlet, but ends up being poisoned by his own sword.
How is the future of Camp Green Lake an example of poetic justice?
15. What piece of information found at the end of Chapter 49 suggests that justice
has been served?
16. What is significant about the day Stanleys father invents his cure for foot
fungus? What does this suggest?
Dig Deeper:
17. At the end of Chapter 45, the author writes, “Stanley could hear his heart beat.
Each beat told him he was still alive, at least for one more second.” Would you
call this a positive or negative statement? Why?
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18. Read Psalms 25:1–10, Psalms 33:17–22, Romans 5:1–5, and Romans 12:9–18.
Where does our true hope lie? What character traits seem to be connected to
19. How is the version of the lullaby Zeros mother sings at the end of the novel
different from the one Stanley’s father sang to Stanley?
20. What feelings or emotions are expressed in Zeros mother’s version of the lull-
aby? How do they compare to the emotions expressed in Stanleys version?
Optional Exercise:
Research Paper: Ms. Morengo was a patent attorney who was working with Stanleys
father on one of his inventions. Do some research on the topic of patents. What is
required if you wish to get a patent on an invention? Gather your findings in a one- to
two-page report.
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Crossword Puzzle Review
Use the clues below to fill in the crossword puzzle on the next page. Because this
crossword puzzle is circular, words run Clockwise and Inward instead of the typical
Across and Down.
1. Condition that plagued Clyde Livingston (and Charles Walker)
7. Name of Sams boat
8. Type of trees that grew along the shores of Green Lake
10. Woman who put a curse on Stanleys great-great-grandfather
11. Ancestor of the Warden (and a student of Miss Katherine Barlows)
13. Organization that bought Camp Green Lake
15. Secret ingredient in the Wardens nail polish
16. Mysterious object unearthed by Stanley.
2. Type of juice in Sams lizard repellent
3. Ironic nickname of Clyde Livingston: “______ Feet
4. Appropriate nickname of Charles Walker
5. What Stanleys great-great-grandfather carried up the mountain
6. Hector’s nickname
7. One of the counselors at Camp Green Lake
9. Stanleys great-great-grandfather
12. The man in the cowboy hat who appears at Camp Green Lake at the end of the
14. The inscription on the answer to #16 Clockwise
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1. Characters in literature can be classified as either dynamic or static characters. A
dynamic character is a character who we see change during the course of the
novel. A
static character is a character who remains essentially the same
throughout the novel. Is Stanley a dynamic or static character? If dynamic, how
would you say Stanley has changed since the beginning of the novel? If static,
what indications at the end of the novel suggest that he has not changed?
2. A story has linear narrative if the events recounted in the story follow a chrono-
logical sequence. In a story with non-linear narrative, the events are told out of
chronological sequence. Holes is an example of non-linear narrativ
e. The author
makes extensive use of flashbacks to fill in details about the story.
The events below are listed in the or
der in which they are recounted in the
story. Number these events in their proper chronological order. (That is, the
order in which they happened, not the order in which theyre found in the story.)
a. ____ Stanleys great-grandfather was robbed by Kissin’ Kate Barlow
(Chapter 3)
b. ____ Stanley arrives at Camp Green Lake. (Chapter 4)
c. ____ Elya Yelnats fails to keep his promise to Madame Zeroni. (Chapter 7)
d. ____ Elya Yelnats arrives in America. (Chapter 7)
e. ____ Stanley digs up a gold tube. (Chapter 13)
f. ____ Stanleys great-grandfather survived after finding refuge on “God’s
g. ____ Katherine Barlow was a schoolteacher in Green Lake. (Chapter 23)
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h. ____ Hattie Parker sees Katherine Barlow kissing Sam the onion man.
(Chapter 25)
i. ____ Katherine Barlow is killed by a yellow-spotted lizard. (Chapter 28)
j. ____ Zero runs away from Camp Green Lake. (Chapter 30)
k. ____ Stanley finds Zero under the wreck of the Mary Lou. (Chapter 35)
l. ____ S
tanley and Zero climb to Big Thumb. (Chapter 38)
m. ____ Mrs. Tennyson thanks Sam for the onion tonic that cured her daugh-
ter. (Chapter 40)
n. ____ Stanley and Zero return to Camp Green Lake. (Chapter 43)
o. ____ Stanley and Zero dig up the suitcase. (Chapter 44)
p. ____ Stanley and Zero are released from Camp Green Lake. (Chapter 48)
q. ____ Sam gives onion juice to the rattlesnake hunters. (Chapter 49)
r. ____ Camp Green Lake becomes a Girl Scout camp. (Chapter 50)
3. Stanleys full name, “Stanley Yelnats,” is a palindrome—It reads the same for-
d as it does backward. H
ow does Stanley’s name reflect the narrative struc-
ture of the novel?
4. A motif is a recurring phrase, image, action, or idea in a novel. For example, the
author often expresses the idea of being “in the wrong place at the wr
time.” Another motif may be the yellow-spotted lizards, who appear through-
out the story. What other recurring motifs do you find throughout the novel?
What effect do these recurring motifs have on the story?
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5. In Holes we saw how the choices that people made over 100 years in the past
continued to have an effect on the people who lived in the present. Below is a
list of choices made by characters in Holes. How did these choices affect Stanley?
a. Elya
Yelnats chooses to ignore Madame Zeroni’s curse.
b. Katherine Barlow gives Sam some jars of spiced peaches.
c. Sams boat is sunk by Trout Walker.
d. Kissin’ Kate Barlow robs Stanleys great-grandfather—the first Stanley
Yelnats—and buries his suitcase in the dry lake bed.
e. Stanleys great-grandfather finds refuge on “God’s Thumb.”
6. In the Bible there are many examples of how the choices people make have last-
ing consequences. Read each of the following passages. In each case, how did
the short-term choices of the characters listed have long-lasting consequences?
a. Genesis 4:1–16. (Cain)
b. Genesis 15:1–17:21 (Abraham and Sarah)
c. Genesis 25:19–34, 27:1–40. (Jacob and Esau)
d. 2 Samuel 11:2–12:25. (David)
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7. What choices made by your parents, grandparents or earlier generations had an
effect on you? Consider things such as where you live, the kind of business your
family has done, the places youve traveled, etc.
8. What choices are you likely to face that will have an effect on future genera-
tions? Consider things such as education, marriage, and career.
9. Read Job 4:8; Galatians 6:7–10; and James 3:18. How do these verses relate to
the choices we make and their consequences?
10. Stanleys mother doubted that there ever was a curse on the family. She tended
to view things optimistically rather than pessimistically. For example, instead of
focusing on the fact that Stanleys great-grandfather lost his fortune, she recog-
nizes that he miraculously survived 17 days in the desert.
What do you think? Was there ever a curse on the family, or was it just
that Stanley and his father tended to see the negative side of everything that
happened? Did Stanley really break the curse, or because of a change in attitude
did he finally begin to take action and responsibility? Explain your viewpoint
with examples from the story.
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Suggestions for Post-reading Activities
1. Creative Writing: Choose one of the other boys at the camp and write a one- to
two-page fictional account about why he was sent to Camp Green Lake and/or
what he did after he was released.
2. Physical Education: Find a place where you can dig—with permission—and see
how large a hole you can dig in 30 minutes. How large is y
our hole after one
hour of digging? How many cubic feet did you dig? At this rate, how long
would it take you to dig a hole the same size as Stanley was required to dig?
3. Science: Visit a pet store that sells lizards as pets. After researching the type of
environment required b
y the lizard, create a suitable habitat in an aquarium,
and purchase a lizard to care for.
4. Art Project: Use your imagination, and make a map of Camp Green Lake and
the surrounding area based on ev
ents in the story. Use colored pencils or mark-
ers. Label the following things on the map:
The wardens cabin
The tents
The Wreck Room
The holes
The wreck of the Mary Lou
Sams onion patch
Gods Thumb
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5. Creative Writing: Write a new chapter for the novel to fill in some of the “holes
in the story. Write about one of the following events, or come up with your
own idea.
Write about how Stanley’s father invented his cure for foot fungus.
Write about how rattlesnake hunters rescued Stanleys great-grandfather.
Write a story about Stanleys grandfather (who doesnt appear in the story)
and try to use some of the same motifs as found in Holes.
Write about how Zero found his mother.
Write about ho
w Stanley met Clyde Livingston.
Write about the meeting between Stanleys great-grandfather and Kissin
Kate Barlow.
6. Inventions: After many failed attempts, Stanleys father finally had a successful
ention. The most successful inv
entions are those that meet peoples needs.
Imagine that you are an inventor, and think about what needs people have. In a
one- to two-page paper, describe an invention that would fill a perceived need.
Explain how this invention would work, what it would look like, and how peo-
ple would obtain it. Include sketches of your invention.
Alternatively, choose an invention and research its origins. Who invented
it? How was it invented? What needs did it meet? Did it change peoples lives?
If so, how? Gather this information in a one- to two-page research report.
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Additional Resources
Other Books by Louis Sachar:
Theres a Boy in the Girls Bathroom
The Boy Who Lost His Face
Dogs Dont Tell Jokes
Johnnys in the Basement
Sixth Grade Secrets
Someday Angeline
Wayside School (series)
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
ayside School is Falling D
Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School
More Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School
Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger
Marvin Redpost (series)
Kidnapped at Birth
Why Pick On M
Is H
e a Girl?
Alone in His Teachers House
Class President
Super Fast, Out of Control
Flying Birthday Cake
Magic Crystal
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Books of Related Interest:
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, grades 4–6
Maniac Magee* by Jerry Spinelli, grades 5–7
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, grades 5–7
The Cay by Theodore Taylor, grades 5–7
Tuck Everlasting* by Natalie Babbitt, grades 5–7
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, grades 6–8
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck, grades 6–8
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck, grades 6–8
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, grades 6–8
The Giver* by Lois Lowry, grades 6–9
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* A study guide for this title is available from Progeny Press.