Chapters 12-13 Summary

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Again, Stanley is the last boy to finish digging his hole. Today he is so tired that he would not turn down a ride back to camp, but nobody offers one. When he arrives at D tent, he finds all the boys sitting in a circle with Mr. Pendanski. Stanley tells the group he finished his second hole, and he tells X-Ray that the second hole really is the hardest. X-Ray shakes his head. “The third hole’s the hardest,” he says.

Mr. Pendanski tells the boys they all need to think about what they want to do when they rejoin society. They have to have goals, he explains, or they will end up back in jail. Mr. Pendanski asks Magnet what he wants to do with his life, but Magnet does not know. Magnet likes animals, so Stanley suggests that Magnet train animals for the movies. Magnet likes the idea, but the other boys laugh and say he will never manage to do that. Mr. Pendanski says it would be hard, but it is possible.

Next Mr. Pendanski zeroes in on Stanley, asking him who is responsible for putting him in prison. Stanley is ready with his answer: “My no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.” The boys all laugh, even Zero, who usually looks blank and angry.

Mr. Pendanski’s response is stern. He says Stanley, and nobody else, is responsible for the fact that he is at Camp Green Lake. He says each boy in the camp has to fix his own life. He encourages them all to think about what they want to do, because each of them is capable of doing something positive. “Even you, Zero. You’re not completely worthless,” he adds. Although Zero says nothing, Stanley notices he is no longer smiling. Zero says all he wants to do with his life is dig holes.

The next morning, Stanley realizes that X-Ray was right; the third hole is hardest. He feels the same way about the next hole, and the next. Soon he loses track of how many holes he has dug. They all seem the same.

Stanley is losing weight and getting strong. His hands toughen up so it no longer hurts to hold the shovel. He realizes that he is either going to get into very good shape or die by the time he is finished with his eighteen-month sentence.

One day, Stanley finds a small gold tube in the dirt. It is engraved with a heart and the initials K.B. It looks familiar to Stanley, but he does not know why. For a while, he looks at it uncertainly, trying to figure out a way not to have to give it to X-Ray. He thinks of taking it directly to the Warden, but he is too scared of the Warden to do that.

Before Stanley makes a decision about what to do, Zigzag notices him standing still and asks what he has found. Stanley refuses to show Zigzag and takes the tube to X-Ray instead. X-Ray decides to show it to Mr. Pendanski, but Stanley suggests he wait until the next morning. That way, if the Warden finds it interesting, X-Ray will get the whole day off instead of just an hour or two. X-Ray agrees that this is a good idea.

Later, when the water truck comes, X-Ray tells Stanley not to stand in the back of the line as he always has before. Now Stanley stands second to last, ahead of Zero.

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Chapters 10-11 Summary


Chapters 14-15 Summary