Review of the Book Holes by Louis Sachar
How deep should you dig to change destiny? “From the tip of the steel blade to the end of the wooden shaft” would answer Stanley Yelnats, the character of the novel “Holes” (1998) of the modern American writer Louis Sachar. The story is full of intrigues, romantic stories about law-breakers, unexpected twists and parallels of plot; comic, tragic and fantastic elements – unforgettable book which won the National Book Award and the Newbery Medal.
One of the potential titles of the novel was “Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Wrong Kid”. However, the book finally received the significant name “Holes”: a direct meaning is holes that the characters of the novel dig in desert; a metaphor is difficulties, obstacles, complexities that teenagers have to overcome.
The novel tells from third person perspective about the juvenile Stanley Yelnats, who mistakenly went to a correctional camp with the romantic name Green Lake, but this is not a camp of children’s dreams. The main character meets the world of constant trials and punishments. Stanley has to figure out why the destiny threw him into this camp and why they are forced to dig holes.
There are several storylines and many characters in the book. The protagonist Stanley Yelnats is the most amazing person. The teenager is not discouraged in the terrible camp and testing himself for strength. He always decides by “heart” and not by “head” and helps everyone unselfishly! I would also like to mention another character of the story – Zero or Hector Zeroni. This is Stanley’s friend and the youngest one in the camp, everyone considers him stupid. However, Zero turns out to be a clever boy with deep reasoning. He says that if you live in a hole all your life, you can only climb up. This is a metaphorical phrase, which means that in any difficult situation there is a solution, you just need to find it.
The plot of the book is dynamic and structured so that the reader knows a little bit more than the main character and therefore understands all the events. Actions occur in America, nowadays, in the desert on a former lake. Century-old legends about this place entwine in the main storyline. The main character understands gradually the connection of these stories with his life. The ironic, simple, but not brief language and many dialogues help the reader to understand the characters, to imagine them easy and do not stop reading of the book.
The destiny is the key theme in the novel. The repeated words of a lullaby become a symbol of the variability of life, a symbol of the connection between personality and action. The protagonist will be able to change everything and forget about his bad luck. He realizes that there are no coincidences in life; you just need to make an effort. This message is simple but instinct.
Louis Sachar’s novel is very symbolic. All details of the story are significant and play their role at certain points. For example, the child’s stay in the camp is a classic initiation, because by digging holes under the scorching sun and under no less scorching observation the main character matures. Easy, interesting and understandable writer talks about the children’s problems and shows how important it is to understand who are you and on whom your destiny depends.
For me, the mood of the novel turned out as humorous, because in the characters’ life there are a lot of funny situations and irony. However, I would not call this story a fairy tale, because it makes us thinking about human values. This is a very instructive book. I believe that it will be interesting for readers of different age, gender and nation. The book reminds people that in any life situation you need to fight for your honor, for your family and friends, go to the end.
Holes: The Camp Green Lake Motive
In the book Holes by Louis Sachar, there are three distinct periods of time: 1800s, Stanley’s great grandfather’s era and present day. During these periods of time many things change throughout the decades, Including major and minor things. There are also a vast variety of things that stay the same throughout the book. This includes the name of the lake, Camp Green Lake.
During the 1800s Stanley’s great-great grandfather, Elya Yelnats lived at Camp Green Lake. Which happens to be the very same lake that Stanley Yelnats Senior lived at many decades after. Though Stanley Yelnats IV did not live at Camp Green Lake he experienced staying there for a long period of time. Stanley Yelnats IV climbed the same mountain Elya Yelnats and Stanley Yelnats Senior climbed decades before aswell. Stanley Yelnats Senior had climbed this mountain to take refuge on it and survive after being abandoned in the middle of nowhere. When Stanley thought “his only hope was that zero had found Gods thumb on his own. It wasn’t impossible. His great grandfather had found it” (Sachar 1998,p. 143). It tells us that Stanley had found the same place his great grandfather had found many years before, trying to survive as Zero and himself were. It suggests that his great – grandfather had found a way survive in the middle of a waste land. Which once was not so lifeless.
There are many things that change at Camp Green Lake including the lake, there once was water in the lake in the 1800s and there is now no water. It is dry and barren. The only things that survive out there in the middle of nowhere are deadly yellow spotted lizards and poisonous rattlesnakes. Both in which are cold blooded creatures and need to live in a hot and humid climate. Different people come and go and all have different reasons to be at camp green lake. Most of which are sent there because of a crime that was committed. Stanley was sent to the camp for stealing Clyde Livingstone’s shoes that he had donated to the homeless shelter. Though Stanley was found running away with the shoes, he did not steal them. X-ray was sent there for a different reason again. “He crawled after him, and was just able to squeeze his body through the hole. He never would have fit when he first came to Camp Green Lake. He’d lost a lot of weight”(Sachar 1998,p. 156). It is suggested here that Stanley’s physical appearance had also changed dramatically. Stanley was fatter when he first came to Camp Green Lake and now he was much skinner. This is a minor change that Camp Green Lake had experienced happen. Although many things have changed though this novel, there are some that have stayed the same through the decades.
Throughout the decades a variety of things have stayed the same in the novel, Holes, including the family names. Madame Zeroni was at Camp Green Lake in the 1800s and so was Eyra Yelnats and now, present day, there is Hector Zeroni and Stanley Yelnats IV. They have both come back to the same place where their ancestors grew up. Another thing that has stayed the same at Camp Green Lake is the lakes name, Camp Green Lake. Camp Green Lake has kept the one name for many decades, right back to the 1800’s. Madame Zeroni had placed the curse on the Yelnats because Elya Yelnats did not follow the conditions. “I want you to carry me up the mountain. I want to drink from the stream, and I want you to sing the song to me”(Sachar 1998,p. 31). This condition caused all the descendants of Elya Yelnats to be cursed. This curse stayed the same though the decades and was placed on Stanley Yelnats IV. The Yelnats had always thought that they were at the wrong place at the wrong time however everything has happened for a reason and that instead of always being in the wrong place at the wrong time, perhaps Stanley has been in the right place at the right time. By carrying Hector Zeroni up the mountain he had lifted the curse. The day after he had carried him up the mountain his father, Stanley Yelnats III, had invented a cure for foot odour.
In summary the book Holes written by Louis Sachar is not only one period of time, but three. These three periods of time merge and create a better back ground story. The things that change a Camp Green Lake are very cleverly decided and somewhat hidden. The change the lake sees is remarkable. The things that stay the same at Camp Green Lake are well decided and all link up eventually. Some are minor but still interesting.