Chapters 10-11 Summary

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Stanley sleeps well his second night, but by the next morning he is sore all over. He does not delay getting up, though. He knows that soon the sun will rise and burn down on him while he is digging, and he wants to get as much done as possible before that happens.

Today Stanley knows how to crack through the surface of the dirt to start his hole. He also knows to pile his dirt far from the edge of his hole so he will not have to move it later. He realizes that X-Ray was right that the second hole is the hardest. He does not think he can do it, but he has no choice. By now he has learned not to think about how big the task is, just to scoop up one shovelful at a time. He also knows to conserve his water and drink the last drop only when he sees the water truck coming.

Just before the sun rises, Stanley finds a strange rock. He picks it up and sees that it is the fossil of a fish. This surprises him. Even though he knows he is digging in a dry lake bed, he finds it hard to imagine there were ever fish here. Then he remembers he is supposed to show anything interesting he finds to a counselor. If the Warden likes it, Stanley will get the rest of the day off.

Stanley does not show his rock to the other boys because he is afraid they will take it. He tosses it face down next to his dirt pile. Hopeful that he will not have to finish his hole, he digs slowly, watching for the water truck. When Mr. Pendanski comes, Stanley takes the last place in line. When it is his turn to get his canteen filled, he shows Mr. Pendanski the fossil. When Stanley asks for the rest of the day off, Mr. Pendanski laughs and says the Warden is not interested in fossils.

Angry and disappointed, Stanley goes back to digging. When Mr. Pendanski is gone, X-Ray comes and asks Stanley to give him anything else he finds. “I’ve never found anything. You see, my eyesight’s not so good,” X-Ray says. He explains that it would not be fair for Stanley to get a free day after just a few days of digging when X-Ray has never had one in almost a year. Stanley does not want to make X-Ray angry because he is the leader of the group from D tent. Reluctantly, Stanley agrees.

As he goes back to digging, Stanley decides it is good he said yes to X-Ray. It is more important for him to be accepted by the other boys than to get one day off. Everyone respects X-Ray even though he is the second-smallest boy in the group, bigger only than Zero.

Stanley is glad the boys have given him a nickname. Back at school, he was bullied by Derrick Dune, who was small but fierce. Any of the guys from D tent would scare Derrick, and now they have accepted Stanley as one of them.

As he digs the rest of his hole, Stanley imagines the boys from D tent beating up Derrick Dune. It eases the pain in his hands and body as he digs.

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Chapters 8-9 Summary


Chapters 12-13 Summary