What are the differences and similarities between Stanley and Zero in Louis Sachar's Holes?

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Stanley "Caveman" Yelnats and Zero are first and foremost bound by the crime for which Stanley is doing time at Camp Green Lake. Stanley is wrongfully accused of stealing a pair of sneakers—shoes which, in reality, Zero had stolen out of desperation. The intersection of their personal and family histories both happened to land them at the same juvenile detention center. Once there, it is clear that both Stanley and Zero possess personal grit and resilience, a distaste for injustice, and a desire to see the wrongs of the world righted. Together, they learn to embrace their courage and fight the system which is oppressing them.

Their differences lie in their environments of origin and their upbringing. Zero is extremely uneducated and comes from a place of poverty (having been left homeless after his mother abandoned him), whereas Stanley has attended school, possesses a family, and is comfortable enough, although not by any means rich. Zero is the best digger at the camp despite his small stature, whereas Stanley possesses more intellectual acumen.

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Most of the similarities between Zero and Stanley are based on their personalities. For example, both are adventurous. Zero and Stanley both run away from the camp into the desert, with no water or food. They both also have a sense of justice. They run away to escape the camp's unfair conditions. Their pasts also intersect. Zero is the descendant of Madame Zeroni, while Stanley is the descendant of a man who was supposed to carry Madame Zeroni up a mountain to ensure his future success.

The differences between Zero and Stanley stem mostly from their upbringings. Stanley grew up with two parents and a grandparent, and they all live together. Stanley knows how to read. Zero, on the other hand, does not know where his parents are, and never learned to read.

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