Chapters 14-15 Summary

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All night, Stanley wishes he could have kept the gold tube he found. For once in his life, he had a stroke of luck, but he did not get to benefit from it. At breakfast, he asks X-Ray about the tube, and X-Ray refuses to talk. Stanley feels hurt and bewildered as Mr. Pendanski assigns him a place to begin digging his day’s hole.

When the water truck comes, X-Ray fills his canteen and says nothing about the find. It is not until Mr. Pendanski goes to the next group of boys to fill their canteens that X-Ray calls out to him. Everyone runs to look in X-Ray’s hole. X-Ray shows them the little gold tube in a shovelful of dirt. Mr. Pendanski examines the find and seems excited.

Mr. Pendanski drives back to camp; soon he returns with a tall woman, who turns out to be the Warden. She tells Mr. Pendanski to fill all the boys’ canteens and then take X-Ray back to camp for clean clothes, a double shower, and a day off. Mr. Pendanski protests that he just filled the boys’ canteens, and the Warden gets surly and threatens to make him dig a hole. During the conversation, Stanley is surprised to realize that the Warden knows he is called Caveman.

After X-Ray leaves for his shower, the Warden changes the boys’ jobs for the day. She puts them in pairs in X-Ray’s hole and the two nearest holes. One boy from each pair digs, and the other sifts through the dirt to make sure the first digger did not miss anything. When the holes are finished, she makes the boys take the dirt away in wheelbarrows. The Warden watches them all day and makes sure Mr. Sir fills their canteens whenever they are thirsty.

Stanley does everything the Warden tells him but knows they are digging in the wrong place. Because the boys are paired up, the work is easier than usual even though the Warden makes them dig deeper than five feet.

When they are finished for the day, Stanley asks the others how the Warden knew all their nicknames. The boys tell him the Warden watches them through cameras all the time. Stanley doubts this, but he realizes that it explains why X-Ray refused to speak to him that morning. He also realizes that the inmates at Camp Green Lake are not just digging holes for punishment. They are searching for something.

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