by Louis Sachar
Holes Justice and Judgment Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Stanley was not a bad kid. He was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. He'd just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. (3.8)
At this early point in the book, the reader is already being clued in to the fact that the system of justice that sent Stanley to Camp Green Lake is, at least in this one instance, faulty. This is a great way for the book to build instant sympathy for Stanley with the reader. Does it also encourage us to distrust (or at least question) other sources of justice we might encounter in the story?
"I want you to know, Stanley, that I respect you," Mr. Pendanski said. "I understand you've made some bad mistakes in your life. Otherwise you wouldn't be here. But everyone makes mistakes. You may have done some bad things, but that doesn't mean you're a bad kid."
Stanley nodded. It seemed pointless to try and tell his counselor that he was innocent. He figured that everyone probably said that. (5.8-9)
Unlike the mean Mr. Sir, Mr. Pendanski tries to be friendly with Stanley, and seems to want to see things from his point of view. But Stanley understands that despite what he says, Mr. Pendanski is starting from an assumption of his guilt. He straight-up believes in the justice system, and doesn't see any reason to question it.
Because of the baseball schedule, Stanley's trial was delayed several months. His parents couldn't afford a lawyer.
"You don't need a lawyer," his mother said. "Just tell the truth."
Stanley told the truth, but perhaps it would have been better if he had lied a little. (6.34-36)
Stanley's mom thinks that telling the truth is enough to achieve justice. If only. As we learn from what goes down at Camp Green Lake, justice is often more a matter of might than of right.