Holes Paper

This essay has a total of 972 words and 4 pages.


Stanley Yelnats, a boy who has bad luck due to a curse placed on his great-
great-grandfather, is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention camp, for a crime he
did not commit. Stanley and the other boys at the camp are forced to dig large holes in
the dirt every day. Stanley eventually realizes that they are digging these holes because
the Warden is searching for something. As Stanley continues to dig holes and meet the
other boys at the camp, the narrator intertwines three separate stories to reveal why
Stanley's family has a curse and what the Warden is looking for.

When he was a boy, Stanley's great-great-grandfather, Elya Yelnats, received a pig from
Madame Zeroni, a gypsy, in exchange for a promise. Elya's promise was that after the pig
grew strong he would carry Madame Zeroni, who only had one leg, up a mountain and sing her
a song that she had taught him. After becoming disillusioned with the girl he thought he
loved, however, Elya hops a boat to America, forgetting his promise to Madame Zeroni. Elya
marries and has a child in America and always thinks about Madame Zeroni, who he believes
has cursed him because of his failure to fulfill his promise. He knows that Madame
Zeroni's son lives in America, but Elya never finds him.

One hundred and ten years before Stanley arrives at Camp Green Lake, the town of Green
Lake is a beautiful place where peach trees bloom throughout the spring. In this Texas
town, the schoolteacher, Katherine Barlow, falls in love with Sam, the onion seller. Sam
sells onions to eat and to use for medicinal purposes. While Katherine and Sam are alive,
racism is institutionalized in the United States and it is against the law for a black man
to kiss a white woman. Because Sam is black and Katherine is white, the people in the town
become irate when they find that Katherine and Sam have kissed. Charles, or Trout, Walker,
the richest man in town has always wanted to marry Katherine. He is already mad that
Katherine does not wish to go out with him so when he finds out that she is in love with
Sam he gathers the townspeople to burn the schoolhouse and attack Sam. Katherine seeks
help from the local sheriff but instead finds that the sheriff, who makes lewd advances
towards her, also wants to kill Sam. Katherine and Sam attempt to escape but their boat is
destroyed while only half way across the lake and Sam is killed. Katherine is driven mad
by her grief and becomes an outlaw known as Kissin' Kate Barlow. Her name refers to the
fact that she kisses the men she kills, leaving a lipstick imprint of her lips on their
faces. In her twenty years of robbing people in the west, she happens to rob Stanley's
great- grandfather while he is on his way from New York to California. She buries
Stanley's great-grandfather's money somewhere and even though Charles Walker and his wife
Linda try to torture her into revealing its location, Kate dies before anyone can find out
where the money is hidden. After the day that Sam is killed, rain stops falling on Green
Lake and the lake dries up.

Because Green Lake dries up, the citizens of the town all move away and by the time that
the land is serving as Camp Green Lake, the only people there are juvenile delinquents.
Stanley has a hard time digging holes there due to the incredible heat and the hard, dry
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