Holes by: Louis Sachar
Novel Study Guide

Part One:  You Are Entering Camp Green Lake

Chapters One & Two

  1. Explain the irony in the name Camp Green Lake.

  1. Why will campers sometimes permit themselves to be bitten by a rattlesnake or a scorpion?

  2. What is the significance of the phrase, "The Warden owns the shade?"

  1. Why does the narrator suggest that if someone is bitten by a yellow-spotted lizard they might as well lie in the hammock?

  2. What choices did the judge give Stanley?

Chapters Three & Four

  1. Why did Stanley have a box of stationery?

  2. How did Mrs. Bell inadvertently embarrass Stanley?

  3. Briefly explain the curse of the one-legged Gypsy.

  4. Why did Stanley's apartment smell of burning rubber and foot odor?

  5. What did everyone in the family like about Stanley Yelnats’ name?

  6. How did the guard wish to be addressed by Stanley?

  7. What instructions did the guard give to Stanley concerning digging?

  8. According to Mr. Sir why did none of the campers attempt to escape despite the fact that there were no fences or guard towers?


Chapters Five & Six

  1. Why was Mr. Sir in such a bad mood?

  2. According to Counselor Pendanski, what one rule should Stanley always remember?

  3. Why was Stanley reluctant to tell Mr. Pendanski that he was innocent?

  4. What nickname did the boys in Stanley's tent use for Mr. Pendanski?

  5. Why was Stanley surprised that Theodore insisted on being called Armpit?

  6. For what crime was Stanley sent to Camp Green Lake?

  7. Briefly describe Stanley's version of the theft.

  8. What did the judge think?


Chapters Seven & Eight

  1. How do we know that Stanley is not accustomed to hard physical work?

  2. How did Stanley's weight help him for once in his life?

  3. Why did the digging get easier for Stanley as the hole got deeper?

  4. Who was Elya Yelnats?

  5. Describe Madame Zeroni.

  6. What advice did Madame Zeroni offer Elya about Myra Menke?

  7. Why did Madame Zeroni give Elya a piglet?

  8. Explain Madame Zeroni's curse.

  9. Why did Elya refuse to choose a number in order to win Myra's hand in marriage?

  10. How might the counselors have punished Stanley if he had refused to finish digging the hole?

  11. What warning did Magnet give Stanley as he headed off to select a bathroom?

  12. What did Elya remember as his ship was clearing the harbor?

  13. What did Zero do after he had finished digging his hole?

  14. What does Stanley discover upon completing his first hole?

  15. What would probably happen if you were ever close enough to see the yellow dots on a yellow-spotted lizard?

Chapters Nine & Ten

  1. Explain why the sign on the rec room said wreck room.

  2. Why in X-Ray's opinion was the second hole the hardest to dig?

  3. Why is Stanley's letter home so comical?

  4. Give proof that Stanley has learned from his previous day of digging.

  5. Why did Stanley refer to the fossil as his miracle?


Chapters Eleven & Twelve

  1. What did X-Ray ask Stanley to do the next time he found something interesting? 

  2. Why was Stanley surprised that X-Ray was the leader of the group?

  3. Why was Stanley glad to be called Caveman?

  4. What was Mr. Pendanski doing when Stanley finally dragged himself back to the compound?

  5. What caused the smile to disappear from Zero's face?


 Chapters Thirteen & Fourteen

  1. Describe the object that Stanley found. Why was he reluctant to retrieve it from the pile of dirt?

  2. How did Stanley respond when ZigZag asked to examine the gold tube?

  3. What advice did Stanley offer X-Ray about showing the tube to the Warden?

  4. What occurs when the water truck arrives that indicates Stanley's status in the group of boys is improving?

  5. Describe the Warden.

  6. Why was Stanley surprised when the Warden addressed him as Caveman?

  7. What instructions did the Warden give to Mr. Pendanski?

  8. Why did X-Ray wait until the next day to reveal the discovery of the golden tube?



Chapters Fifteen & Sixteen

  1. Why was the Warden treating the campers so well?

  2. Why was Stanley so sure he wouldn't find anything despite his careful search through the dirt dug up by Zero?

  3. According to ZigZag, how did the Warden know all their names?

  4. Why did Stanley decide against digging at night?

  5. Why did Zero not get the joke about the old lady who lived in a shoe?


Chapters Seventeen & Eighteen

  1. Explain Stanley's sudden collapse.

  2. Why was Stanley relieved when the boys returned to their regular spot to dig?

  3. Why did Stanley not have to worry about Zero reading over his shoulder?

  4. How do we know that more than just Stanley's hands had become callused during his stay at the camp?


Chapters Nineteen & Twenty

  1. Why was Stanley having difficulty sleeping?

  2. How did Magnet get his nickname?

  3. Why did Stanley get blamed for stealing from Mr. Sir?

  4. What is the secret ingredient of the Warden's nail polish?

  5. Explain what happens in the Warden's cabin when Stanly is supposed to get punished.

 Chapters Twenty-One & Twenty-Two

  1. Why was Stanley surprised when he returned to his hole?

  2. How was Stanley able to determine who had helped him?

  3. Explain what Stanley meant by Zero having X-Ray vision.

  4. What did Stanley offer to do for Zero?

  5. What insight did Stanley suddenly have about the gold tube in the Warden's office?

Chapters Twenty-Three & Twenty-Four

  1. Describe Green Lake as it was one hundred and ten years ago.

  2. Who was Katherine Barlow?

  3. Why was Charlie Walker called Trout Walker?

  4. How did Mr. Sir respond to the young boy's question about his swollen face?

  5. How did Mr. Sir punish Stanley?

Chapters Twenty-Five & Twenty-Six

  1. According to Sam what could onions cure?

  2. Why wasn't Sam allowed to attend classes?

  3. Why did the students not show up a school the next day?

  4. Describe what happened to Sam.

  5. Explain how Katherine Barlow acquired the reputation as "Kissin' Kate Barlow."


Chapter Twenty-Seven & Twenty-Eight

  1. Explain why Stanley emptied his canteen onto the ground despite being extremely thirsty.

  2. What is Zero's real name and why is it significant?

  3. Who returned to Green Lake after a twenty-year absence?

  4. What had happened to Trout Walker during this twenty-year period?

  5. Why were Linda and Trout terrorizing Katherine Barlow?

  6. Explain how Kate died.

Part Two--The Last Hole

Chapters Twenty-Nine & Thirty

  1. What had Stanley's great grandfather allegedly said after being robbed by Kate Barlow?

  2. Why did Mr. Pendanski fire his pistol into the air?

  3. How did the Warden react when she discovered that Zero was digging Stanley's holes?

  4. How did Zero react when when Mr. Pendanski handed Zero the shovel and told him it was all he would ever be good for?

Chapters Thirty-One & Thirty-Two

  1. Where did Stanley think that Zero might have taken refuge?

  2. Why does the Warden repeatedly ask Mr. Pendanski if Zero (Hector Zeroni) had any family or social worker who might have taken an interest in him?

  1. Why was the new boy given the nickname Twitch? 

  2. Explain what happened when Stanley stole the truck?


Chapters Thirty-Three & Thirty-Four

  1. Why did Stanley think that he might have to return to the camp?

  2. Why did Stanley's heart stop when he peered into the bottom of one of the holes?

  3. What did Stanley have for lunch?

  4. Explain why the pool of water kept moving away from Stanley.

  5. Describe what Stanley found while walking across the dry and barren wasteland.


Chapter Thirty-Five & Thirty-Six

  1. Who was under the boat?

  2. Explain what you think the “sploosh” might be.

  3. What evidence is there that Barf Bag may have purposely stepped on a rattlesnake?

  4. Why did the boys make frequent stops as they walked across the lake?

  5. According to Zero how did the boat probably get its name?

  6. What did the boys see when they finally reached the western edge of the lake?


Chapters Thirty-Seven & Thirty-Eight

  1. Why was Stanley reluctant to stop and rest?

  2. What conclusion did Stanley make after seeing all the weeds and bugs?

  3. How does Zero make it up the final portion of the climb to the top?

  4. What two important discoveries does Stanley make after tumbling into the gully?


Chapters Thirty-Nine & Forty

  1. Why did the insides of Stanley's mouth and throat feel like they were coated with sand?

  2. What does Zero say that causes Stanley to believe that his friend is delirious?

  3. Explain why Mrs. Tennyson was wearing only a nightgown and a robe as she ran down the street after Sam.

  4. What surprised Stanley when he headed down the mountain looking for the shovel?

Chapters Forty-One & Forty-Two

  1. Why did Zero avoid the homeless shelters?

  2. What did Zero do with Clyde Livingston's shoes when everyone started making a fuss about them being stolen?

  3. Why did Zero fill the bottom of the hole with rocks?

  4. Explain the bitter smell that Stanley had first detected upon reaching the top of the hill.

  5. What was Stanley alluding to when he asked Zero if he wanted to dig one more hole?


Chapters Forty-Three & Forty-Four

  1. Explain the significance of Zero mentioning that his mother had sung a lullaby similar to the one Stanley's mother had sung to him.
  2. Where did Zero get breakfast?

  3. What did Stanley uncover in the hole?


Chapters Forty-Five & Forty-Six

  1. Who was shining the bright light in Stanley's eyes?
  2. Explain the Warden's statement, "It won't be very long."

  3. Why did Stanley start to think about his mother?

  4. Why did the Warden ask the counselors to relay the message that the "campers" would no longer have to dig any holes?


 Chapters Forty-Seven & Forty-Eight

  1. What small but important piece of information do we glean about the Warden in this chapter?

  2. Whose name was on the suitcase and how can it be used to describe Zero's behavior during the night?  

  3. What did Ms Morengo advise Stanley to do when the Warden ordered him to open the suitcase?

  4. Why did Mr. Pendanski hesitate when the Warden ordered him to get Hector Zeroni's file?

Chapter Forty-Nine

  1. Why does the author relate the story of the rattlesnake hunters at the beginning of this chapter?

  2. Describe the new product that Stanley's father has just invented.

  3. What happens at Green Lake for the first time in over a hundred years?

Part Three--Filling in the Holes

Chapter Fifty

  1. Explain how Stanley’s family curse was resolved.

  2. What did they find in the suitcase that proved to be very valuable?

  3. What was the new foot odor product called?

  4. Who is the famous person watching the world premier of the foot product commercial with Stanley and his family?

  5. Who is singing the lullaby to Hector (Zero) at the end of the story?