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FREE BOOK NOTES SUMMARY FOR HOLES BY LOUIS SACHAR

CHAPTER 33

Summary

Stanley walks slowly, looking for Zero, but thinking of eventually turning back. He passes a surprising number of holes at a great distance from the camp, and peers into each one. He runs from one hole where he sees a family of yellow-spotted lizards. He comes across a sunflower seed sack, finds one seed inside and calls it lunch.

Notes

Though Stanley is looking for Zero, the reader knows that Stanley expects to find only Zero’s body in one of the holes. His walking seems to be pointless.

CHAPTERS 34 and 35

Summary

Stanley continues walking toward elusive mirages of water. He thinks he can see “God’s thumb” in the distance and, though he knows it is futile, keeps walking toward it. He changes direction when he sees something off to his right. It turns out to be the remains of an overturned boat. Stanley reflects on the irony of the possibility that someone might have drowned on the very spot where he is dying of thirst. He reads the name “Mary Lou” on the back of the boat, and then hears a noise. He shouts, trying to scare the critter back into the boat. A hand with an orange sleeve reaches out.


Zero emerges, weak, but smiling. Stanley suggests that he and Zero go back to camp. Zero refuses and offers Stanley some “sploosh.” They crawl into the shade of the boat and use Zero’s shovel to break open a tightly sealed jar of sweet, mushy nectar. Zero says that it is the last of the sixteen jars of “sploosh” he had found there. Not all of them had been sealed so tightly. Again Stanley suggests going back, and going to a hospital like Barf Bag had done after stepping on a rattlesnake. Zero explains that Barf Bag did it on purpose. He had taken his shoe and sock off first.

They crawl out from under the boat and Zero doubles over in pain. Stanley insists on taking Zero back. Again Zero refuses. Stanley gives in and points Zero toward “God’s thumb.”

Notes

The connections between the past and present are coming together showing fate’s hand in Stanley’s family history. The boat and spiced peaches that belonged to Sam the onion man, who was a victim of cruelty and racism, have saved the life of Zero, a victim of the same evils. The holes in the story are slowly being filled in. However the reader still does not know how the link between Stanley and Zero as a descendant of Madame Zeroni will be resolved, nor do we know how or if the boys will survive on “God’s thumb.”

CHAPTER 36

Summary

Stanley uses the sunflower seed sack he had found to carry four unbroken sploosh jars. He and Zero walk toward God’s thumb, with Zero periodically falling on the ground retching. Using his shovel as a crutch Zero keeps on getting up and pressing on. As a diversion he asks Stanley to give him words to practice. Stanley encourages Zero telling him they can have pizza and ice cream when they get to the thumb.

They reach the far edge of the lake and climb the steep walls of the lakebed. Stanley boosts Zero up, and then Zero hauls Stanley up using the shovel to reach him. This bloodies Zero’s hands. When they make it to the top they are in the shadow of the thumb.

Notes

Zero’s strength and willpower are at their peak as is the power of the friendship that has bonded Stanley and Zero. They help each other without concern for personal benefit or safety.

CHAPTERS 37, 38 and 39

Summary

Stanley and Zero climb the increasingly steep mountain up to the thumb. Weeds and gnats appear. Zero doubles over once again, vomits, and eventually falls over unconscious.

Stanley lifts Zero and carries him farther up the mountain, leaving the shovel and jars behind. The weeds Stanley is walking through have an unpleasant odor. He falls into mud and realizes that there must be water there. He digs as deep as he can and drips water into Zero’s mouth. Zero comes to. Stanley digs more and discovers an onion growing underground. He and Zero eat it.

The next morning Stanley wakes up and sees that his water hole is brown and muddy. He wants to go back down the mountain to find the shovel and jars. Zero is still very sick and in his delirium confesses to Stanley that it was he, Zero, who stole Clyde Livingston’s shoes. Stanley does not understand. Stanley sings his father’s song as Zero falls asleep.

Notes

The first part of the novel gave us tidbits of information a little bit at a time. Now the pieces of history are coming together and the story is moving faster. Stanley has stumbled upon Sam’s onion field where the water runs uphill. The puzzle is almost complete. The stories within the story have come together wit flawless detail. A descendant of Elya Yelnats has carried a descendant of Madame Zeroni up the mountain to a place where the water runs uphill and has sung the pig lullaby to him. Stanley has made good on the promise that Elya broke.

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