Why is the name of the hero in "Holes" a palindrome?

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linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

A palindrome is a word or phrase that means the same thing written either right to left or left to right. For instance, the word "racecar" is a palindrome. If you spell it bacwards, it's still "racecar." Three famous palindrome phrases are "Madam I'm Adam," "Able was I ere I saw Elba," and "Name no one man."

The hero, or main character, of the book Holes is named Stanley Yelnats. Look closely at his last name: Yelnats is Stanley spelled backwards.

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yamaguchit's profile pic

yamaguchit | Student | (Level 1) Honors

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To answer this question, it'll help if you first understand the meaning of a palindrome. Essentially, what a palindrome is a word that has the exact same meaning if it is read left to right, and from right to left. The above answer provides an example with "racecar" as a palindrome. That is a great answer because if you read it either right to left (as normally you would read), or left to right, both ways will read the same way with the exact same meaning. Another good example would be "radar," for either way you read it, it has the same spelling and the exact same meaning. It's just word play!

Holes took advantage of palindromes, and thus made the main character, the protagonist, named Stanley Yelnats. Although the meaning in the names are probably different, Yelnats is simply Stanley spelled backwards. It's very clever wordplay by the author Louis Sachar. She even mentions in the book how Stanley's last name is his name spelled backwards. It's really quite interesting and innovative the wat Sachar includes this Palindrome into the book Holes.

For more information on this and other various Holes stuff, check the link below. Should give you what you need if you ever need assistance!


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