Chapter 13

Stanley returns to digging and finds a small gold tube with a heart engraved on it. Inside the heart the initials KB are engraved. He has previously told X-Ray that he would give him anything he found so that X-Ray could have the day off. Reluctantly, Stanley gives X-Ray the tube. Because it is almost the end of the day, Stanley suggests that X-Ray keep the tube until the next day so that if the Warden likes what he has found he can get the whole day off instead of just an hour. X-Ray agrees that this is a good plan and when the water line forms, X-Ray tells Stanley to move up one place in line, ahead of Zero.

Chapter 14

The next morning, Stanley asks X-Ray if he has the object. X-Ray yells at Stanley to leave him alone and pretends he doesn't know what Stanley is talking about. While they are digging, X-Ray waits until the water truck has come to the holes before pretending to find the gold tube. Mr. Pendanski goes to inform the Warden of X-Ray's find. The Warden is a tall woman with red hair and freckles. She wears a cowboy hat and black cowboy boots studded with turquoise stones. She gives X-Ray the day off and orders Mr. Pendanski to fill the canteens for the boys again. When Mr. Pendanski says that he has just filled them the Warden, obviously angered, asks Stanley, calling him Caveman, if he has a full canteen. Since Stanley's canteen is not full the Warden tells Mr. Pendanski to fill them without questioning her authority.

Chapter 15

The Warden sends X-Ray back to camp to take the day off. She orders Zero to dig X-Ray's hole and Stanley to sift through the dirt that Zero digs. She puts two boys on every hole, one to dig and the other to sift. All of the boys are promised a double shower and the day off if they find anything. Stanley wonders how the Warden knew he was called Caveman and Zigzag tells him that the Warden has small hidden cameras and microphones all around the camp. Stanley realizes that this is why X-Ray didn't want to talk about the object at breakfast. Stanley also realizes that the Warden has the boys digging in order to find something. He makes a mental note of the location of the hole that he found the gold tube in.

Chapter 16

Stanley enters the Wreck room and sees that all the boys are exhausted except for X-Ray, who is gloating about his day off. Zigzag complains that it is too loud to watch television and Stanley notices that Zigzag is staring at the broken television screen. The next day the Warden follows the boys to their holes. As Stanley sifts through dirt he tries to think of what the gold tube might have been. The Warden grows tired and orders Mr. Sir to make the boys work faster. After digging the boys retire to the Wreck room where Mr. Pendanski gives Stanley a letter. Armpit and Squid taunt Stanley about having a letter from his mother but X-Ray tells them to leave him alone. After the boys leave for dinner Stanley reads the letter from his mother. She tells him that she is proud of him and that their landlord is threatening to evict them because his father's experiments with shoes make the whole apartment smell awful. Stanley's mother writes that she feels sorry for the old lady who lived in a shoe because the smell must have been awful. Stanley laughs at this and Zero asks him why he is laughing. Stanley is surprised because he thought everyone had left. He tells Zero what his mother had written but Zero has never heard of the old lady who lived in a shoe. Stanley asks Zero if he has ever watched Sesame Street but Zero simply stares at him. Stanley leaves Zero and heads to dinner.


This section shows the ways that groups of people establish and maintain power. X-Ray becomes the group's leader because he has a system of rewards for those who support him. Once Stanley has done X-Ray a favor, X-Ray rewards him by moving him ahead in the water line and coming to his defense when Squid taunts him about receiving a letter from his mother. The Warden also has a system to keep herself in control of the whole group. Like X-Ray's system, she uses punishments and rewards to keep order but unlike X-Ray, she is the officially recognized head of the camp. She increases her power by increasing her vision; like a wich who can see everything through a crystal ball, the Warden's hidden cameras and microphones allow her complete control over the boys. She rewards X- Ray when he claims to have found the gold tube and the other boys, who must continue working without a reward, understand the full effect of being in the Warden's good graces.

Read an in-depth analysis of X-Ray.

The Warden is nicer to all of the boys when she believes that they are working for her and getting her what she wants. As soon as she begins to feel her goals will not be reached, she stops treating the boys well, and it is clear to them that they are no longer in her favor. Just as X-Ray has the power to move Stanley in front of Zero on the water line, so the Warden has power over not just the boys, but also Mr. Pendanski. When Mr. Pendanski threatens her system of absolute control even in a minute way, the Warden retaliates with a threat to lower his rank. She has the power to place him on the level of the campers if she wants, and it seems that this threat keeps him absolutely loyal to her. This even demonstrates that even though Mr. Pendanski seems to be in charge, he is always under the absolute control of the Warden. In addition to finding out more information about the power structure of Camp Green Lake, these chapters provide the reader with more clues to the puzzle of the book. The gold tube that Stanley has found obviously interests the Warden and has some bearing on why all the boys are digging holes in the first place. The gold tube is one more clue and the initials will doubtless provide more information about why the Warden wants the boys digging holes under the hot Texas sun.