Chapters 1-3 Summary

Louis Sachar begins Holes with a description of Camp Green Lake. Nothing is green there, and there is no lake. It used to be the site of the biggest lake in Texas, but now it is a wasteland. There used to be a town as well, but it died when the lake dried up.

In summer, it is very hot at Camp Green Lake. It is about ninety-five degrees in the shade, and there is almost no shade. There are only two old oak trees that stand on the edge of the empty lakebed. A hammock hangs between those two trees, but campers are not allowed to use it. Only the Warden gets to lie in the hammock.

On the lakebed, campers often find rattlesnakes and scorpions. They are poisonous but not usually deadly. Yellow-spotted lizards are another matter: anyone who gets bitten by one of them is doomed.

Camp Green Lake is so bad kids only go there because they have to. Bad kids are sent to Camp Green Lake, where the Warden forces them to dig a big hole every day. Some people think this treatment will turn bad kids good.

Stanley Yelnats gets a choice. The judge says, “You may go to jail, or you can go to Camp Green Lake.” Stanley’s family is poor, and he has never been to camp before. He does not know what Camp Green Lake is like, so he says he would like to go there.

Stanley rides to camp on a bus with a driver and an armed guard. He is handcuffed to his seat. On the trip, he thinks about his life and his family.

Stanley remembers how, when he was little, he used to play a game with his stuffed animals. He pretended they were at a camp called Camp Fun and Games. Now, sitting in the bus to Camp Green Lake, he tries to pretend that is where he is going. He tells himself he will make friends and swim in the lake.

Stanley is innocent of any crime. He got arrested “because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!” According to family legend, Stanley’s...

(The entire section is 515 words.)