Summary of part one
Part 1, 0%-1%
Setting: Texas, Camp Green Lake
Characters: The Warden is mentioned
The novel Holes by Louis Sachar begins with a description of the reform school Camp Green Lake, which will later be the main setting of the novel. The name "Green Lake" is misleading. At the time in which the action of the novel takes place, the lake that once existed there has long since dried up. The town with the same name, which once bordered the lake, has also long been abandoned.
Now near the camp there is only a hot, dry desert with summer temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius. The only shade is reserved for a single resident of Camp Green Lake: The Warden.
The dry desert is not the only danger for the inhabitants of the camp. Rattlesnakes and scorpions sometimes get lost in the holes that the young residents of the camp have to dig every day. Their bites are not harmless, but not fatal either. It is different with the yellow spotted lizards that hide there. Their bites are agonizing and deadly: no one can survive them.
Part 1, 2%
Characters: Stanley Yelnats is mentioned
The second chapter describes why there are camp residents in such a dangerous environment as Camp Green Lake in the first place. Camp Green Lake is a correctional facility for teenagers. As an educational measure of the camp, the boys are supposed to dig a hole outside in the desert every day.
The main character of the novel, Stanley Yelnats, is given the possibility to decide for himself whether he prefers to serve his sentence in a normal prison or in Camp Green Lake. Since Stanley has never been to a summer camp, he chooses Camp Green Lake.
Part 1, 3%--6%
Setting: Texas, drive to Camp Green Lake
Time: Present day (drive to Camp Green Lake) and flashback to Stanley's family past
Characters: In the present: Stanley Yelnats, driver, guard. In flashbacks: Stanley Yelnats, Stanley's father of the same name, Stanley's mother, Stanley's great-grandfather, Stanley's great-great-grandfather, outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow.
Stanley Yelnats, handcuffed and accompanied by a guard, is driven to Camp Green Lake in the sweltering Texas heat. During the drive, he reflects on the misfortune that has regularly troubled his family since the days of his great-great-grandfather. His great-great-grandfather supposedly stole a pig from an old woman and thus - according to family lore - brought misfortune on the entire family.
Stanley doesn't really believe in curses, but there's no denying that bad luck and misfortune have always followed his family. His great-grandfather for example, had his entire fortune stolen by Kissin' Kate Barlow, a notorious outlaw in the American West.
Since then, Stanley's family has lived in poverty and, despite all their courage and hope, they seem unable to strike any good fortune. Stanley's father is an intelligent and imaginative inventor, but his discoveries have all proved unsuccessful so far. He is currently working on a recycling process for sneakers. The project has not failed yet, but it indirectly led to Stanley's arrest.
Stanley did not commit the crime for which he is being taken to Camp Green Lake. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite the hopeless situation, Stanley hopes to make friends at the camp for the first time in his life. At home, he has not been able to connect with his classmates, mainly because he is overweight.
Part 1, 7%-11%
Setting: Camp Green Lake
Time: Day 1 at Camp Green Lake (May 24).
Characters: Stanley, guard, camp counselor Mr. Sir
Stanley arrives at Camp Green Lake after an eight-hour bus ride to serve his eighteen-month sentence. The camp is located in a barren, desert-like area with only a few tents and a few run-down buildings. Although Camp Green Lake is referred to as a reformatory, there are no fences or guard towers to keep the juvenile inmates from escaping. Since there is no way to get water within a hundred miles, none of the guards would prevent the youths from escaping. For them, trying to escape across the desert would be suicide.
Stanley is led to the brash camp counselor, Mr. Sir, who checks him for forbidden items and introduces him to camp life in terse terms. The main task for the inmates is to dig a five-foot deep hole out in the desert every day. Only then, when the hole is dug, the young people are allowed to return to the camp. If they find an interesting object while digging, they must ...