Cruelty, violence, and isolation

The abuse at Camp Green Lake

The young adult novel Holes by Louis Sachar is centered around the interpersonal relationships of its main character, Stanley Yelnats. In the story, Stanley goes through a transformation from an outsider to a follower who puts respect from the group above his personal interests and eventually becomes someone who learns about true friendship and places its value above the recognition of a larger group.

However, the novel does not only give a larger stage to Stanley's relationships. The dynamics in the camp force a certain type of hierarchy, in which every member in the group has to play a certain role. From the outsider and misunderstood Zero, to the confident and dominant leader X-Ray and the many hangers-on in X-Ray's hierarchy they all have to follow certain rules and depend on the respect of others. True friendships are hardly to be found in Group D, and the members focus more on suspicion, competition, and the fight for survival.

The youths behave according to the demands of their rank. For example, they do "whatever X-Ray asked" (Part 1, 43%). However, this has nothing to do with true loyalty to X-Ray. The youths of Group D probably only want to be protected by their unofficial leader, just like Stanley at the beginning of the novel.

Lack of contact and mutual help

Although the boys give each other nicknames and spend their free time together, none of them seem to really engage with the others. No one makes an effort to really get to know and ...

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