Literature Study GuidesHolesPart 2 Chapters 48 49 Summary

Holes | Study Guide

Louis Sachar

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Holes | Part 2, Chapters 48–49 : The Last Hole | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 48

The attorney general and the lawyer, Ms. Morengo, walk Stanley and Zero back to camp. There the Warden claims Stanley brought his own suitcase to her cabin and put her things inside it. The Warden tells Stanley to open the suitcase, and Ms. Morengo tells him not to.

Apparently the attorney general just wants this matter tied up, so he tells Stanley to leave with Ms. Morengo. But Stanley refuses to go without Zero. Obviously annoyed, Ms. Morengo requests Zero's file. While Mr. Pendanski pretends to look for it, the other boys from Stanley's tent come to say goodbye. Squid gives Stanley a phone number and says, "Call my mom for me, okay? Tell her ... Tell her I said I was sorry."

When the counselors can't find Zero's file or produce any record of Zero's arrest, the attorney general is furious. But he doesn't want to let Zero walk away. Ms. Morengo points out he can't name any reason for holding Zero captive. So Zero gets to leave Camp Green Lake too.

Chapter 49

The narrator returns briefly to the historic storyline set in the old town of Green Lake. In this scene three men chase after Sam to ask for help. They are going out to the desert to hunt rattlesnakes, and they are afraid of the yellow-spotted lizards, which they call "red-eyed devils." Sam sells them each two bottles of onion juice. He says lizards don't bite people who smell like onions.

As Ms. Morengo's car pulls away from Camp Green Lake, she complains about how bad the boys smell and explains she has been helping Stanley's father with a patent. When she found out about Stanley, she asked around and found several witnesses who knew Stanley was being bullied at the time the shoes were stolen. Hearing this, Stanley feels embarrassed. Oblivious, Ms. Morengo says she proved Stanley innocent. Zero announces he was the one who stole the shoes, and Ms. Morengo tells him not to say that again.

Stanley asks what his father invented, and Ms. Morengo explains it is a cure for foot odor. She hands them a sample. It smells like peaches—or maybe sploosh. The boys fall asleep in the car.

Behind them, rain starts falling on Camp Green Lake.

Analysis

Camp Green Lake normally operates according to its own rules, but the people who run the camp must answer to the real-world legal system. The attorney general represents the authority of this system, and Ms. Morengo has full knowledge of its laws. She is a clear thinker who has no trouble rescuing anyone from Camp Green Lake. She easily argues against the Warden's claims about the true owner of Stanley's suitcase, and she quickly frees Zero when she discovers nobody can explain why he is in jail in the first place.

It appears Stanley and Zero's adventure at the Big Thumb have completely reversed their positions in society. Both boys' former weaknesses are now strengths. Stanley's odd family history once brought him nothing but trouble, but now it is helping him walk away from Camp Green Lake with a suitcase full of treasure. Zero's position as a "nobody" in society once made it easy for bad people to forget him and let him die, but now it sets him free.

Before leaving Camp Green Lake, Stanley and Zero have a brief chance to say good-bye to the other campers. These interactions also show a change in the boys' status. The boys who formerly discounted Zero now treat him with respect. Squid, who often teased Stanley for keeping contact with his parents, now asks Stanley to help him repair a connection with his mother.

To explain why Stanley and Zero were not killed by yellow-spotted lizards, the omniscient narrator reveals one more detail about the historic town of Green Lake. A brief scene shows Sam explaining yellow-spotted lizards don't bite people who smell like his onions. In other words, Stanley and Zero escaped death by lizard bite because they had spent several days eating nothing but onions.

It turns out Ms. Morengo won Stanley's freedom by proving he was being bullied at the exact moment Clyde Livingston's shoes were stolen. This news is embarrassing to Stanley, but it reinforces a pattern. Like Stanley's arrest, the events leading up to the arrest played a fundamental role in bringing Stanley to his current better position in life. From the perspective of the present moment, all the bad luck brought by Stanley's curse looks a lot like good luck after all.

Ms. Morengo also describes Stanley's father's new invention. Apparently, he has invented a cure for foot odor, and he is now rich. This is more evidence to suggest Stanley's family is no longer living under a generations-old curse. The detail about curing bad odors is also funny in this context, since Stanley and Zero both smell strongly of sweat and onions, and because Clyde Livingston's shoes, which started the whole mess, stank because of his terrible foot odor.

Back in Part 1 of Holes, the tragic death of Sam apparently brought a curse down on Green Lake. Since he died and Kissin' Kate Barlow killed Green Lake's sheriff, not a drop of rain has fallen on the lake. Stanley and Zero have only a distant personal connection to this story. But they seem to have intertwined themselves with it somehow, perhaps by visiting the places important to the characters, by eating the food they left behind, or by finding Kissin' Kate Barlow's treasure and keeping it safe from the descendants of Trout Walker. Because part of that treasure belonged to Stanley's great-grandfather, its return to Stanley IV also helps redeem Kissin' Kate's crime against Stanley I. Whatever the reason, the boys' actions have apparently ended two curses. As they leave Camp Green Lake, rain falls there for the first time in generations.

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