Literature Study GuidesHolesPart 1 Chapters 27 28 Summary

Holes | Study Guide

Louis Sachar

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Course Hero. "Holes Study Guide." June 7, 2019. Accessed July 24, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Holes/.

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Course Hero, "Holes Study Guide," June 7, 2019, accessed July 24, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Holes/.

Holes | Part 1, Chapters 27–28 : You Are Entering Camp Green Lake | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 27

Stanley digs another hole and considers whether it is safe to take a drink from his canteen. Ever since the Warden hurt Mr. Sir, he has refused to fill Stanley's canteen. But Mr. Pendanski seems to know this, and when he drives the water truck he lets Stanley have an extra drink.

Meanwhile Zero now digs part of Stanley's hole every day, and the other boys don't like this. It especially bothers them because Zero is African American and Stanley is white. Stanley tries to explain he needs the rest so he has enough energy to teach Zero, but the other boys' anger is simmering.

Mr. Sir arrives with the water truck. Today he fills Stanley's canteen and then takes it inside the truck with him for a long time. Soon he comes back out, grinning, and hands Stanley the full canteen. After Mr. Sir leaves, Stanley dumps the contents out.

Later, back at the tent, Stanley teaches Zero to write his name. Zero writes it over and over, proudly. He says everyone has always called him Zero, but his real name is Hector Zeroni.

Chapter 28

Chapter 28 returns to the historic plot. Twenty years after becoming an outlaw, Kissin' Kate Barlow returns to Green Lake and moves into the cabin by the shore. By now the lake is all dried up. The peach trees and the town are dead. Kissin' Kate lives in quiet grief, often talking to Sam in the empty desert and hearing him talk back.

One day Trout Walker and his wife force their way into the cabin. Trout aims a gun at Kissin' Kate and demands to know where her money is. He and his wife, Linda, both look ragged and worn down. Apparently he lost all his money when the lake dried up.

Linda sees a shovel in the cabin and guesses Kissin' Kate buried the treasure. Kissin' Kate refuses to say where it is hidden, inviting them to dig anywhere they want in the surrounding desert. Trout and Linda tie up Kissin' Kate and march her barefoot around the lake until her feet are blistered. Soon a yellow-spotted lizard bites Kissin' Kate. She laughs, knowing she has won. Her final words are "Start digging."

Analysis

In the contemporary plot, the tension is nearing a breaking point. Mr. Sir continues to deprive Stanley of water, sometimes refusing to fill his canteen and sometimes teasing him by filling it with unknown and probably horrible substances. Meanwhile Stanley is increasingly unpopular with the other boys, who resent him for letting Zero help dig his hole every day. Stanley faces threats from kids, adults, and nature.

For the first time, disagreements among the boys have an openly racial component. Many of the boys object to Stanley's arrangement with Zero because Stanley is white and Zero is African American. This objection seems somewhat insincere considering none of the boys ever took an interest in Zero. They don't really care about his well-being and desires. But Stanley's decision to let Zero dig part of his hole is morally questionable. He is taking payment for giving Zero something everyone is supposed to get for free—a basic education. Stanley has lived a more privileged life than Zero, and now Stanley is benefitting from that privilege while Zero does more work.

Later Zero reveals his real name: Hector Zeroni. Stanley probably doesn't know the name of the woman who cursed his great-great-grandfather long ago, but readers can make a connection here and guess Zero is a descendant of Madame Zeroni.

Chapter 28, the final chapter of Kissin' Kate Barlow's story, shows Green Lake transforming into a wasteland—the one readers are familiar with in the contemporary plot. In this setting readers also see a cabin on the edge of the lake. This seems to be the cabin the Warden occupies in the contemporary plot. Readers already know the Warden was excited by the discovery of a lipstick tube with Kissin' Kate Barlow's initials on it. The detail about the cabin strongly suggests the Warden has some historic connection to Barlow's story.

This chapter also shows how the drought has transformed the people of the town, leaving them poor and desperate. When Trout Walker corners and questions Kissin' Kate Barlow in this chapter, he is no longer the rich, arrogant young man from earlier scenes. Instead, he is poor and ragged, having lost his wealth when his land died. He clearly retains a personal hatred for Kissin' Kate and perhaps even blames her for his suffering. It seems he feels entitled to the treasure she amassed during her years as an outlaw. She dies telling him to dig for her treasure. And readers know people are still digging holes in the bed of Green Lake generations later.

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