Holes Themes


The theme of justice in Holes is legal, moral, human, and cosmic, all of which are wound together in the novel’s complex plot. The legal aspects of the theme of justice come in throughout the novel, but especially early and late. Stanley is processed by the court system when he is arrested, and he is naïve or trusting enough to think that if he tells the truth, he will be found innocent. He is not and is given two options: jail or Camp Green Lake. However, running contrary to that is a strong sense of moral justice. Stanley knows that he did not steal the sneakers and has an intuitive understanding that it is wrong to be punished this way. This moral sentiment blends into compassion for the other boys, and especially for Zero. No one should be treated as the boys at the camp are: stripped from their homes and set to hard labor for minor crimes like stealing sneakers, or for no crimes at all. Because Stanley comes from a more nurturing background, he has the perspective to realize just how wrong their treatment is. The other boys mostly accept their lot in life, and that is one of the book’s tragedies. Another is that anyone has to live like Zero did: homeless and without knowing what happened to his mother. What sets all of this right in the end is a grand pattern of cosmic justice. Stanley’s family may think they have suffered over the decades because the first Stanley Yelnats broke a promise to an old gypsy woman, but this Stanley sets things right by rescuing her descendant, carrying Zero to get a drink in the mountains. That brings things full circle. Stanley and Zero find the buried treasure that the Warden was looking for and lift the curse from both families. The strength of the theme of cosmic justice is so strong that it might be called by another name: fate. The good are eventually all rewarded, and the evil are punished, even if it takes 110 years.

The most important symbols in the story are the names, the holes, the poisonous creatures, and the sweet...

(The entire section is 841 words.)

Ed. Scott Locklear