Past and present


The intertwining of the past and the present

In the novel Holes by Louis Sachar, the past is closely linked to the present. This is also evident in the fact that flashbacks are regularly introduced in the text. The present generation cannot escape the influence of its ancestors. What was once relevant in the past is not without significance in the present.

The fates of three families are closely intertwined in the narrative: Stanley suffers because of the curse brought on the family by his great-great-grandfather Elya Yelnats. It is up to him to free himself from it. Zero is descended from a family from Latvia and is actually the great-great-great-grandson of Madame Zeroni, who cursed the Yelnats family more than a hundred years ago for a broken promise. The camp Warden Linda Walker is the granddaughter of Charles Walker, who has made it his life's work to find the treasure of outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow, to which the Yelnats family actually has a legal claim.

Stanley as a descendant of Elya Yelnats

Ever since Stanley's great-great-grandfather Elya Yelnats put a curse on his family (see section on "Curses and redemption"), Stanley is constantly haunted by bad luck. Although he does not believe in such curses himself (Part 1, 5%), he realizes that he always seems to be "in the wrong place at the wrong time" (Part 1, 5%). The fact that he is wrongfully arrested stresses this impression, especially because the circumstances of his arrest are more than strange. The stolen sneakers of the famous baseball player Clyde Livingston have literally fallen on his head under an underpass (Part 1, 17%). A short time later he is arrested by the police.

This streak of bad luck continues at Camp Green Lake as well. Stanley actually does everything he can to keep a low profile , but it's in vain: just like his great-great-grandfather, he has a talent for getting himself into trouble wherever he goes. For example, when one of the other boys steals sunflower seeds from the counselor Mr. Sir's car, Stanley is suspected of this theft: "Stanley looked up at the approaching dust cloud, then back down at the spilled seeds. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. What else is new?" (Part 1, 69%)

It is not entirely clear what effect the curse has, but as soon as Stanley unknowingly banishes it, fate turns in his favor. Only when he carries Zero, the descendant of Madame Zeroni, up a mountain and sings him a song that has been handed down in his family for generation, has he, without knowing it, banished the shadows of his family past. From that moment on, his family experiences good luck.

Stanley as a descendant of Stanley Yelnats I.

Stanley's great-great-grandfather Elya Yelnats occupies the most important place in the family history as a mischief-maker; the "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather" (Part 1, 4%) is, after all, held respon...

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