In Holes, it is said that “if you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy”. In what ways does Stanley Yelnats change and develop as a character during the course of the novel? The hole is a novel written by Luis Sachar. It’s about Stanley Yelnats, a boy who is often teased at school because he’s overweight. Stanley has extremely low confidence, and when he is wrongly accused of stealing a pair of sneakers he is sent to a juvenile detention centre called Camp Green Lake. During his stay there a whole new world opens up to him involving new friends, treasure and digging lots of holes.
A Juvenile Detention Center can be compared to prisons, but the difference is that it’s for minors that break the law. That person is held there for a period of time, depending on how serious the crime was and if he/she is considered dangerous out in the community. When Stanley was sent to Camp green lake I think he got some kind of confidence- boost because he got to know many new friends and the most important part: He became accepted, and I think that really made him feel like he was a part of something special and that he finally felt like he belonged somewhere, knowing that he has got friends around him going through the same thing might have kept him from going completely mad at a tough place like Camp Green Lake, where digging holes out in the hot sun is supposed “character building”.
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Really, if you think about it Stanley was never even a bad boy, so why should he be punished for a crime he did not commit? However, later in the book, we find out that the Warden is not making the boys dig holes for discipline, she’s looking for a treasure because she is a decedent of Trout and Linda Walker, the people who were once the owners of Green Lake. This means that the whole idea behind digging a hole per day is all based on a lie. At the very beginning of the book, the author mentions that Stanley is overweight “He was overweight and the kids at middle school often teased him about his size.” This probably had a big impact on his confidence and made him more vulnerable and sensitive. But during the course of the book, Stanley becomes both stronger and fitter, which probably contributed to his raised confidence as well.
“A couple of months ago, he would never have been able to fit through. He’d lost a lot of weight.” Even if I personally do not agree with the standards of Juvenile Detention Centres, this proves that being forced to eat less and exercising regularly (digging holes) overweighed kids like Stanley will improve their health in Detention Centres. However, the rules and lifestyle Juveniles are forced to follow is not appropriate for growing teenagers. One example is Camp Green Lake, where we find out that all of the meals that juveniles are served come from cans and that they don’t get enough water per day. “You thirsty?” asked Mr Sir.
“Yes, Mr Sir”, Stanley said gratefully. “Well, you better get used to it. You’re going to be thirsty for the next eighteen months.” (Sachar, 15) If we don’t have a varied diet or get the nutrients and water we need, our body might not be functioning as well as others later on. This is especially important for younger people who are still in the process of growing, and Juvenile Detention Centers, like Camp Green Lake, doesn’t seem to fulfil those needs, which probably is one of the reasons why they are considered bad.