Friendship and being an outsider

Stanley Yelnats as an outsider


Before his time at Camp Green Lake, Stanley, the main character from Louis Sachar's novel Holes is an outsider who does not have a single friend. He is overweight and is bullied and humiliated by his classmates for it, even "his teachers sometimes made cruel comments without realizing it" (Part 1, 3%). His loving and understanding parents are the only ones who give him support - however they cannot replace friendships with people from the the same age group.

One of his classmates in particular, Derrick Dunne, turns Stanley's school day into a real torture. However, Stanley cannot hope for support from the caring teachers; they do not consider that he is being bullied: "Some teachers even seemed to find it amusing that a little kid like Derrick could pick on someone as big as Stanley." (Part 1, 17%). On the day of Stanley's arrest, for example, Derrick threw Stanley's homework notebook into the boys' bathroom a humiliation that Stanley is still embarrassed about even after his time at Camp Green Lake.

Stanley’s status as an outsider at his school has consequences for his mental well-being. The constant humiliations, the fact that he doesn't have a single friend, and the lack of any prospect that his situation will change again in the foreseeable future make him a deeply unhappy teenager without any self-confidence.

The shy and cautious boy

Stanley's long status as an outsider bears fruit when he finally arrives at Camp Green Lake. Even before he enters prison, he hopes to make friends at camp (Part 1, 5%). He then strives so hard for the approval of the other youths that he puts his own needs and opinions aside. He accepts without much objection that he should give up any of his finds that might earn him a day off to the leader, X-Ray (Part 1, 41%), and refrains from speaking his mind freely not wanting to upset anyone: "Stanley kept his mouth shut most of the time. He didn’t talk too much to any of the boys, afraid that he might say the wrong thing." (Part 1, 67%).

Because Stanley is too shy at first to show his true personality, he doesn't make any real friends at Camp Green Lake either. He is constantly afraid that the other boys cannot accept him as one of their own and hides his true thoughts and feelings from them. For example, he always writes to his mother in secret because he is afraid of the others' ridicule . Stanley submits to the group dynamic so much that he misjudges Zero at the beginning of the novel. He refers to him as a "nobody" (Part 1, 66%) and refuses to teach him to read and write (Part 1, 67%).

It is only through his friendship with Zero that Stanley is able to free himself permanently from his role as an outsider. Through it, he becomes more self-confident and no longer attaches so much importance to the recognition of a group. At the end of the novel, when he has found refuge with Zero on "God's Thumb," he finally feels good about himself.

Zero (Hector Zeroni) as an outsider

The street child

Zero grows up under completely different conditions than his friend Stanley, bu...

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