Why does Camp Green Lake force the campers to dig holes?

Camp Green Lake is a camp for juvenile delinquents – campers choose to attend as an alternative to serving time in prison. As such, the camp mirrors prison, dressing the children in orange suits and giving them strict protocols. As part of their punishment, the children are made to dig one hole a day, a physically strenuous task. According to camp officials, this task is meant to build character. However, it’s unclear how digging holes does anything to improve the behavior of the boys or teach them any meaningful form of discipline. This is because the “building character” excuse has been created as a cover-up for the true reason: searching for Kissin’ Kate’s buried treasure, which the Warden and her ancestors have been doing for generations. The boys have been brought to Camp Green Lake under false pretenses to do the Warden’s labor for her.

Why does the Yelnats family have bad luck?

The Yelnats family has bad luck because Stanley’s great-great-grandfather was cursed after failing to follow through on a promise. Holes reveals the story in a time-jump to the past, where Stanley’s ancestor, Elya Yelnats, falls in love with a girl in his village. Desperate to win her hand in marriage, he makes a pact with his friend, Madame Zeroni. She gives him a young pig and teaches him a magical ritual that will help the pig grow strong so he can present the animal as a dowry. In exchange, Elya needs to carry Madame Zeroni up the town mountain, so that she can drink from the mountain stream before she dies. If he fails to do so, Madame Zeroni warns that his descendants will be cursed. After Elya abandons his wish of marrying, and decides to immigrate to the United States, he forgets his promise. Because of this, each member of the Yelnats family has terrible luck, from being robbed by Kissin’ Kate Barlow to being wrongfully accused of stealing sneakers. The curse is finally broken when Elya’s ancestor – Stanley –fulfills his great-great-grandfather’s promise by carrying Madame Zeroni’s ancestor – Hector, or Zero – up a mountain so that he can drink from the mountain stream.

Why does Kate Barlow kiss her victims before she kills them?

The outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow’s tradition of leaving a kiss on the men she kills traces back to her life in Green Lake, and the tragic ending to her relationship with Sam. After Trout Walker and the rest of the racist townspeople of Green Lake discover that Kate and Sam are lovers, they organize a lynch mob to kill Sam and separate Kate from him. When Kate runs to the town sheriff for help, she discovers that he too is a part of the lynch mob. Not only does he condemn Sam for being romantically involved with Kate, due to racist laws forbidding Black men from pursuing white women, but he callously ignores Kate’s pleas for help and demands that she kiss him. After the mob murders Sam, Kate returns to the sheriff a few days later to enact her revenge. She shoots him, applies a coat of lipstick, and kisses him. Her kiss becomes her calling card as an outlaw. With the kiss, Kate turns a sign of womanhood and beauty into a mark of death, serving an ironic sort of justice to the violent men who felt they were entitled to her body.

How did Stanley end up with Clyde Livingston’s sneakers?

Stanley comes across Clyde Livingston’s sneakers one day as he’s walking home from school – in fact, the sneakers seem to simply fall out of the sky, landing on him. Unfortunately, when the stolen sneakers are found on Stanley’s person, he’s naturally blamed for the robbery. To make matters worse, the shoes had been stolen from their display at a local homeless shelter, where they were being auctioned for charity. Stanley chalks up his bad luck to the dubious family curse, and he’s more correct than he knows. The reason Stanley is caught with the sneakers can be traced directly to Hector Zeroni, the great-great-great-grandson of the woman who originally cursed the Yelnats family. Hector – or Zero – was homeless before finding himself at Camp Green Lake, and sometimes visited his city’s homeless shelter when it became too dangerous to sleep outside. Zero grew up poor, and he and his mother occasionally stole necessities to survive. Not understanding the implications behind stealing, Zero takes Clyde Livingston’s shoes out of the display at the shelter, assuming they’re simply an old pair that won’t be sorely missed. However, Zero immediately notices the missing shoes are causing chaos at the shelter, so he abandons them on top of a parked car. The sneakers likely fell off the car while it drove over a freeway pass that Stanley was walking underneath.

Why is Green Lake all dried up?

Over a century before Stanley arrives at Camp Green Lake, Green Lake was a large and beautiful freshwater lake – the largest in Texas. A town of the same name had been established near the lake, and among the residents were Katherine Barlow, the local schoolteacher, Trout Walker, a member of the town’s wealthiest family, and Sam, the onion seller and owner of the donkey Mary Lou. Sam tells Katherine that he and Mary Lou love rainy weather, eventually leading to his offer to fix the school’s leaking roof for Katherine. The two fall in love, which draws the ire of Trout Walker. Enraged that Katherine rebuked his own advances and chose Sam – a Black man – instead, he leads a mob of villagers to lynch Sam.

When the lovers attempt to escape together, both Sam and Mary Lou are shot and killed. Since their deaths, rain – which Sam and Mary Lou loved – never falls on Green Lake again, and it’s suggested that this is a divine punishment for Walker, the sheriff, and the rest of the racist villagers. In fact, Walker’s family wealth disappears along with the water. The lack of rain is also a symbol of loss and moral destitution; the drying of the lake mirrors how Walker and his mob drained the town of love, kindness, and justice when they murdered Sam and Mary Lou. It is only when Stanley and Zero bring a semblance of humanity back to Green Lake, and rid it of the Walker's presence, that rain begins to fall again.