"God will punish you": who is punished in Holes?

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the novel Holes by Louis Sachar, punishment seems to be the main activity other than digging holes. One of the main themes in the novel is justice and justice in this case requires punishment.  All of the authority figures in Holes especially the Warden are punished once Stanley and Zero find the treasure and outside help arrives.  I think the Warden is punished the most as she has been hunting for the treasure for years, has never found it despite her best efforts to drive the camp inmates to find it, and has to watch someone else recover it.  That it belongs to the Yelnats and Zeroni families doesn't matter to her; she feels it should be hers.  So even though she will be punished by the justice system, I think the worst punishment is watching Stanley and Zero claim the prize and take it away.  For all of her cruelty and greed, the punishment is fitting.