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by Louis Sachar

Man and the Natural World Theme

From the harsh, unforgiving landscape of Camp Green Lake, to the beautiful backdrop of Miss Katherine's town, to the stinky, life-saving meadow at the top of the mountain, the physical world of nature plays a big part in the story's events. Over and over in <em>Holes</em>, nature both reflects and comments on the moral and emotional state of the characters. Deep, right? But be careful: what people see in the natural world is just the surface; it's important, the book tells us, to look beyond surfaces. Life, as reflected in the natural world, is often messy and smelly, and what you see isn't always what you get.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Traditionally, nature and civilization are often seen as opposing forces. Is this the case in Holes?
  2. If the onions in Holes represent the wholesome, holistic healing of nature, what do you think the peaches represent?
  3. Shmoop thinks that, in Holes, nature often reflects what's going on in the world of humans. Can you find some examples of this? And also – since we're not always right – do you agree?

Chew on This

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

In the world of Holes, nature is always deceiving on its surface: you can never trust appearances.
Sam and his onions are closely associated with the natural world. So when the townspeople murder Sam, this is kind of a rejection of the natural world. This is why nature abandons the town – i.e. it stops raining – in the aftermath of the murder.

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