In Chapter 33 of Holes by Louis Sachar, does Stanley approach his predicament intelligently?

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amacdougald eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 33, Stanley has left camp and is walking through the desert, looking for Zero. No one follows Stanley, and he debates turning back but decides to keep going in the hopes of finding his friend—dead or alive. In his travels, he passes a lot of previously dug holes, and while looking into one, spots a family of yellow-spotted lizards before running away. He eventually finds a sunflower seed sack and eats it as his lunch.

The good news about this question is that it seems to be opinion-based. This means there are probably a wide variety of acceptable answers, as long as you have the logic and the evidence from the novel to support your claims.

"Predicament" is a fancy word used to describe a difficult situation. We know that Stanley has some doubts about what he's doing based on the fact that he considers abandoning his efforts and returning to camp. But there's even more to this situation that we should consider.

Think of the landscape and the weather of Camp Green Lake: it's a very unforgiving desert climate. Do you think that Stanley adequately prepared himself before setting out on his own? Did he bring enough protective clothing to shield his eyes and skin from the intense sunlight? Did he bring some food or water with him to keep his body nourished? What tools might have been useful for him to bring along? By answering these questions you can discuss whether you think Stanley was acting intelligently, and defend your answer as to why or why not. 

It's also to important to remember that in the previous chapter (Ch. 32), Stanley unsuccessfully attempts to steal a vehicle despite not knowing how to drive. He then drives the truck straight into a hole and ditches it, running off into the desert instead of facing the consequences of his actions. 

That puts Stanley in quite a predicament, doesn't it?

If we think about the question from this angle, it's most helpful to consider what might have happened if Stanley hadn't run off into the desert. What kind of punishment would he have faced? Would staying at camp have put him in a safer situation than the one he's in now? Knowing that he'll eventually need to return to camp (for water and food, at least), do you think that he has now made things worse for himself by trying to run away? By thinking on these questions, you can again decide for yourself whether you think Stanley's actions were intelligent.

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Holes

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