© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Louis Sachar

Holes Theme of Choices

Check out our discussion of "Fate and Free Will" for some thoughts about whether or not the choices of the characters in Holes even matter. Whether or not they matter, though, they're definitely made. Whom to marry, how to act, what to believe – most of our characters do some pretty decisive choice-making. Oh, except for our protagonist, Stanley: for most of the book, he's pretty content to let other people – more powerful people – make choices for him, while he just follows along and makes the best of things. He usually reacts to conflict passively, trying not to make waves or assert himself too much. Is Stanley's choice not to make choices a worthwhile one for him?

Questions About Choices

  1. Zero and Stanley are both pretty passive in the face of attacks or insults from other people. Are they both passive in the same way and for the same reasons, or are there differences in how they respond (or don't respond) to challenges?
  2. What makes Stanley choose to leave Camp Green Lake (and the only water for a hundred miles) and go out into the desert after Zero?
  3. Does Miss Katherine choose to become Kissin' Kate? Is she responsible for her choice? If not, who is?
  4. Do you think the Warden has any options in her life other than the ones she's chosen? Does she choose to be evil, or is it just the way she is?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Holes is about Stanley learning to make choices for himself and not just letting other people – or circumstances – make those choices for him.

Stanley has no trouble making choices, it's just that his choices are limited by his situation; he doesn't have a lot to choose from.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...