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Chapters 30–35

Summary Chapters 30–35


The novel establishes links between the past and the present. Just as the town of Green Lake's violence towards Katherine Barlow and Sam forced Kate to turn to violence and crime one hundred and ten years ago, so Mr. Pendanski's repeated taunting eventually drives Zero towards violence. Mr. Pendanski, who has always shown signs of being cruel underneath his kind façade, begins to show his true colors as he taunts Zero. Far from wanting every boy to turn his life around, Mr. Pendanski seems to want to keep Zero in his dead-end situation at Camp Green Lake. Stanley realizes that people should be proud of Zero for not only learning how to read, but for wanting to read. The Warden and Mr. Pendanski, on the other hand, seem determined to keep Zero from learning anything. Kate's story becomes directly intertwined with Zero and Stanley's story when Zero finds shelter in Sam's old boat, MaryLou.

The "sploosh" that Zero survives on is undoubtedly the celebrated spiced peaches that Katherine made during her days as a school teacher. The objects that remain from Sam and Kate Barlow, like the spiced peaches and the broken boat, aid Zero and Stanley in their struggle to escape the persecution and cruelty of Camp Green Lake, which is similar to the persecution and cruelty that Kate and Sam faced one hundred and ten years ago from the citizens of Green Lake. Stanley demonstrates his changed character when he steals Mr. Sir's truck. Although he knows that the Warden will surely punish him if and when she finds him, Stanley is brave enough to leave camp in order to try and help his friend. This willingness to suffer in order to help Zero shows that Stanley is not only brave, but also a good friend. He and Zero have successfully broken the Warden's system of authority and they are willing to help each other. Although the Warden and Mr. Pendanski decide that no one will care about Zero, Stanley proves them wrong by trying to help Zero on his own. The pieces of the mystery are almost all in place at this time. Katherine Barlow and her connection to Stanley's life and history is clear, the Warden's desire to have the boys dig for Kate's treasure has been revealed, and Zero and Stanley's family ties have also been discovered by the reader. What is left now is to discover how Zero and Stanley will survive in the unfriendly desert with dangerous lizards and the constant threat of dehydration. Obviously, God's thumb will be their source of refuge but what they find there is still unknown. In addition, the Warden mentions the A.G., a new and mysterious character.