Holes questions the nature of fate. By finding Kate Barlow's lipstick tube, Stanley has found not only a piece of history, but a piece of his own history. He has effectively linked the present with two separate stories in the past, that of the outlaw Kate Barlow and that of his own great-grandfather, the first Stanley Yelnats. The introduction of Kate Barlow as a school teacher who makes spiced peaches seems surprising when the reader also knows that she was a dangerous outlaw. Her character is an example of a person's full story revealing more about them than their name might suggest. Although Stanley only guesses that the lipstick case he found may have belonged to Kate Barlow, the fact that the narrator informs the reader that Kate used to live near Green Lake allows the reader to assume that the case does belong to Kate. The facts of the mystery are slowly accumulating, and the reader has far more information than Stanley does.

The character of Trout Walker has many similarities to the character of the Warden. Both like to get their way and both have a lot of control over their surrounding area of Green Lake. In addition to realizing that the gold tube is a lipstick tube, Stanley's visit to the Warden provides Zero the opportunity to do Stanley a favor. This in turn forces Stanley to re-think his behavior towards Zero. When Stanley and Zero agree to help each other with reading and hole digging, they are not forming the kind of authoritarian system that X-Ray and the Warden use, but rather a system of mutual benefit, which has the possibility of leading to real friendship. Neither Zero nor Stanley fears the other, and so their actions and their friendship is honest and genuine. This agreement also gives Stanley and Zero the chance to get to know one another beyond the point of what their names, or the other boys, say about them. Stanley discovers that Zero is very smart even though he does not talk a lot.