Elements of adventure, fairy-tales, and sagas

Adventure elements in Holes

Louis Sachar’s novel Holes can be considered in some ways an adventure novel. The main premise of an adventure novel is that the hero of the story leaves his familiar and safe environment and enters unknown, dangerous, and sometimes life-threatening situations. The hero often has one or more companions and must prove himself together them in extreme physical and mental situations. The hero is often rewarded with success at the end of the adventure novel. Another characteristic of an adventure novel is the fact that other relatively independent stories are grouped around the hero's main story. Their significance for the overall context only emerges towards the end.

Stanley's departure for Camp Green Lake can therefore be considered a characteristic of an adventure novel. Stanley lives the safety of his home environment and suddenly finds himself in a harsh correctional boot camp in the sweltering Texas heat. The real adventure, however, begins in the second part, when Stanley sets out into the Texas desert without water or help in the second part of the novel to save his friend Zero from dying of thirst.

Conditions in the Texas desert are deadly and brutal: "It seemed pointless. He [Stanley] could see there was nothing ahead of him. Nothing but emptiness. He was hot, tired, hungry, and, most of all, thirsty." (Part 2, 23%). However, Stanley does not turn back until he finds his friend Zero (Part 2, 27%). It is through these adventurous experiences that Stanley undergoes his transformation from awkward antihero to courageous hero (see characterization of Stanley Yelnats).

The episode in which Stanley and Zero want to get to "God's Thumb" together is another scene that could belong in an adventure novel. The young people have to brave the heat of the desert together. The undertaking undoubtedly represents a physically extreme situation - the danger to life, namely dying of thirst in the desert, is ever-present: "And he [Stanley] knew he’d never be able to climb it [God's Thumb]. Around him, the smell became stronger. It was the bitter smell of despair." (Part 2, 140%). Nevertheless, the courageous and strong-willed Stanley never gives up. When his friend collapses, he carries him up the mountain (Part 2, 138%).

After passing the tests the hero is rewarded for his success. Stanley and Zero succeed in recovering the metal suitcase of the outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow. They get to keep the treasure and are both released from Camp Green Lake together (Part 2, 96%). The novel concludes with a happy ending for the hero Stanley and his companion and friend Zero (Part 3).

A typical element of the adventure novel in Holes is also the presence of past events whose significance to the main narrative will be shown only step by step (see "Structure...

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