Chapter 8

The dangerous yellow-spotted lizard is described. The lizards have eleven yellow spots, which are hard to see on their yellow-green body. They have black teeth, and white tongues. They like to live in holes, which offer them shade, and they can leap out of even very deep holes in order to attack their prey. In addition to small animals, insects, and cactus thorns, the lizards like to eat sunflower seeds.

Chapter 9

Stanley, exhausted after digging his first hole, returns to camp. He enters the recreation room, which is called the wreck room. Everything in the wreck room is broken. Stanley bumps into a large boy who tries to pick a fight with him. Stanley tries to avoid the fight and X-Ray and Armpit come to his rescue saying, "You don't want to mess with the Caveman." Stanley, Armpit, Squid, and X-Ray talk about the trouble of digging holes. Stanley has brought his box of paper to the wreck room because he wants to write a letter to his mother. When he explains to Squid that his mother will worry if he doesn't write to her, Squid scowls at him. Stanley notices that the entire room is wrecked because the boys themselves have broken the things in it. Stanley waits until Squid leaves before writing his letter. When Stanley does write to his mother he tells her he is having fun and swimming a lot. In the middle of writing his letter Stanley notices that Zero is staring at his letter. Zero asks Stanley, "Did the shoes have red X's on the back?" Stanley responds that they did and then hears Armpit and Squid calling Caveman to come to dinner. Stanley realizes that his nickname is Caveman.

Chapter 10

Stanley's second hole is also very hard to dig. While he is digging he finds the fossil of a fish. He has been told by Mr. Pendanski that if he finds anything interesting he might not have to finish his hole. When the water truck comes Stanley notices that there is always an order to the line, with X-Ray followed by Armpit, Squid, Zigzag, Magnet, Zero, and then Stanley. Stanley shows the fish fossil to Mr. Pendanski but Mr. Pendanski says that the fossil is not what the Warden wants. Stanley has to finish digging his hole.

Chapter 11

X-Ray asks Stanley to give him anything else interesting that he might find. X- Ray explains that his nickname is pig latin for his real name, Rex. Actually X- Ray has very poor vision and will never be able to find anything that might be in the holes. X-Ray says that since he has been at the camp for a year and Stanley has only been there a month, it is more important for X-Ray to get the day off. Stanley agrees because he wants X-Ray to like him. Stanley wonders why everyone follows what X-Ray does. He realizes that X-Ray is the smallest boy apart from Zero and that he, Stanley, is actually the largest boy. As Stanley continues to dig his hole he imagines a confrontation between his school bully, Derrick Dunne and the boys here. He enjoys thinking of Derrick Dunne, who has so often tormented Stanley, being beaten up by the boys from the camp.

Chapter 12

When Stanley finishes digging his second hole he returns to camp to find Mr. Pendanski talking with the boys in his group. Mr. Pendanski asks each boy what he wants to do as a career, after leaving Camp Green Lake. When Mr. Pendanski says that even Zero is not totally worthless and then asks Zero what he would like to do when he leaves Camp Green Lake. Zero is silent at first but then he replies that he likes digging holes.


This section develops the relationship between the narrative and fairy tales. The yellow-spotted lizards embody many of the fears that most people have. Not only are they hideous looking and dangerous, but they hide in holes, where the boys spend most of their time. They are a constant menace and because they like to eat sunflower seeds (which are what Mr. Sir constantly spits into the boys' holes), the reader can guess that they will soon appear as a threat to at least one of the characters. Combined with the ever-present threat of the Warden, the dry heat, and the task of digging holes day after day, the lizards form an environment closer to hell than even Little Red Riding Hood experienced after being eaten by a wolf.

Read more about the yellow-spotted lizards as symbols.

The theme of differing ways of perceiving personalities is also developed in this section. The boys in Stanley's tent name him Caveman but Stanley does not even realize that they are referring to him. The name Caveman brings to mind a hulking man who is very powerful, perhaps someone dressed in animal skins and carrying a club. Stanley, on the other hand, thinks of himself as a weak person who is often picked on and who has very bad luck. While he was trying to avoid a fight with the other boy, X-Ray and Armpit believe that he was being brave and perhaps instigating a fight. The irony of Stanley, who only wants to avoid fights, being named Caveman is similar to the irony of Rex, who is practically blind, being named X-Ray. While X-Ray could easily be bullied because of his glasses and lack of sight, he is in fact, the leader of the group. Stanley later realizes that X-Ray is also one of the smallest of the boys in his tent. Despite these two factors that might lead X-Ray to be picked on, he is the one bossing others around. Becoming a bully has nothing to do with size, but rather is a product of mentality. What Stanley has yet to learn is how to change his perception of himself as someone who is frequently bullied and instead see himself as strong and confident.

Read more about the motif of names and naming.

Stanley understands that X-Ray is the unofficial leader of the boys in tent D, and for this reason he agrees to give X-Ray anything else that he might find while digging his holes. Stanley must constantly remind himself, however, that the other boys in the tent are capable of great meanness. When Squid scowls at Stanley for writing to his mother Stanley notices that it is the boys themselves who have wrecked the things in the wreck room. He realizes that he must continue to be cautious about what he does and says around the other boys because they are unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Even Mr. Pendanski is still a character to be wary of. While he exudes cheerfulness towards the boys he continually displays small cruelties, like mentioning that Zero is not totally worthless. This comment obviously shows Mr. Pendanski's lack of respect for Zero and also illustrates the fact that Mr. Pendanski is not always caring and helpful.

Read more about the destructive nature of cruelty as a theme.