Literature Study GuidesHolesPart 2 Chapters 33 34 Summary

Holes | Study Guide

Louis Sachar

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Holes | Part 2, Chapters 33–34 : The Last Hole | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 33

Since nobody chases Stanley, he soon stops running. He continues walking away from camp, vaguely aiming for the Big Thumb. He knows he can't reach it; he has to go back. But he decides to take his time and search for Zero first. He wonders how long he can last without water and whether he will make it back.

As Stanley walks he keeps finding clusters of holes. He looks down into them as he goes. He doesn't see Zero's dead body, but he does see a bunch of yellow-spotted lizards. He starts running.

He spots an empty sack of sunflower seeds on the ground and picks it up. It contains one sunflower seed, which Stanley eats.

Chapter 34

Stanley keeps looking for Zero, but he doesn't have much hope. He thinks he sees water, but it turns out to be a mirage. He thinks he sees the Big Thumb, too, but he can't reach it without more drinking water.

As Stanley walks he sees something big up ahead. He can't tell what it is, but he decides to walk to it before turning around. He hopes he isn't going too far.

The object turns out to be a wrecked boat. Stanley laughs at this, and then he realizes it makes sense. After all, this desert used to be a lake. He reads the name of the boat, Mary Lou, and sees a pile of dirt and a tunnel underneath. Something moves inside the tunnel, and then a hand emerges.

Analysis

Stanley has gone through many changes since the day he came to Camp Green Lake. But he remains unrealistically hopeful. His hopefulness coexists with the more mature sense of reality he has developed since coming to camp. He is aware of this dissonance, but he lets hope steer him toward the Big Thumb even as he mentally plans his return to Camp Green Lake. The tug of war between his hopefulness and his practicality is intense. If he gets the balance wrong, he will surely die.

The risk of death is clear from the intense heat, and it becomes even more immediate and terrifying when Stanley spots the family of yellow-spotted lizards. But Stanley's ability to hope is incredible. As he risks everything, he takes heart from the smallest gain. When he finds an old sunflower seed bag, he keeps it in case he comes across anything he wants to carry. And he happily eats the one sunflower seed he finds in the bag, treating it like a meal. Even if Stanley had gained nothing else from Camp Green Lake, this scene shows he has developed great resilience.

Stanley tells himself he has no hope of finding Zero, but he keeps behaving as if the opposite is true. This is an emotionally realistic scenario for a character under such extreme stress. Human beings aren't robots. They often behave rather unreasonably. And the choices they make in such situations reveal a great deal about their true characters. Stanley has sometimes acted callous or cowardly, but under the greatest stress, he makes brave and compassionate choices.

The plot of Holes is full of coincidences or moments steered by supernatural forces. One of these coincidences happens when Stanley finds Zero at the wrecked boat. Because the author has so thoroughly developed the story's setting, this coincidence is at least somewhat believable. Anyone walking aimlessly in a flat, featureless wasteland would tend to head toward a landmark. Stanley does this, and it is easy to imagine Zero might have done the same a few days before. It is also easy to imagine why Zero might stay in a place that provides a bit of shade and shelter in a sweltering desert. The boys' reunion is improbable but not impossible. And the magical elements in this story make it seem likely the meeting is helped along by fate.

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