Sunday, July 17, 2011


Sachar, L. (1998). Holes. New York: Dell Yearling.

LS5360: Newbery, ALA Notable.  This was another book of which we had multiple copies in the house as it was very popular with the kids, despite it being forced reading from their teachers.  I really enjoyed this story and how neatly it all tied-up.

I also enjoy writing brief explanations of the elements of the plot, so that’s my new groove.

Exposition:  Told by a narrator through third person limited point of view, it’s current times in New York, when readers are introduced to main character Stanley Yelnats, a friendless, often teased, middle school boy – who has bad luck and oh, a family curse.

Conflict:  With the help of his bad luck, Stanley is wrongfully convicted of a crime and sent to a juvenile correctional facility in Texas.

Rising Action:  Stanley digs holes (and finds out the real purpose behind it), makes deals, builds relationships with other boys, and escapes camp to rescue a boy, Zero, who ran away; both boys nearly die.

Climax:  Stanley’s rescue of Zero breaks the family curse and he and Zero find the treasure – just as the Warden discovers him and Zero.

Falling Action:  Stanley is saved by his attorney and the Texas Attorney General, who arrive on the scene just as the Warden is about to take the treasure and then makes a claim that the boys were trying to steal her suitcase.

Resolution:  The suitcase has Stanley’s name on it, as it belonged to his great-grandfather, his namesake, so he keeps it and the riches inside, is released from the correctional facility, and the facility is shut down.

Literary Elements: Symbolism is predominant (for example, onions are symbolic of positive things like Sam’s livelihood, curing Zero’s food poisoning, protecting Stanley and Zero from the lizards) and irony plays an important role in all the coincidences with people and places interacting.

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