* In the book/movie ''Holes'', the main character's name is Stanley Yelnats, and his last name is supposedly from his Latvian side of the family. But, the Latvian alphabet has no "Y"s. They use "J"s instead. So the whole first name is his last name backwards thing wouldn't really work if it's actually Latvian. (From a troper with Latvian heritage and a sister named Livija {Liv-ee-yuh.})
** A lot of immigrants' names got mangled when they entered the states. A "J" getting changed to a "Y" would be no big deal.
*** Stanle Jelnats could get mangled to Stanley Yelnats pretty easily, and still remain palindromic.
*** And besides, the first Stanley Yelnats was born in the US wasn't he? The Yelnat ancestor who immigrated wasn't named Stanley (Elya I think his name was. I'm not quite sure, it was something like that.).
*** Yep, that's right: Stanley Yelnats was born in the USA and was named by his mother (Sarah Miller, an American) who noticed and liked the palindrome thing. Presumably, Elya Yelnats (Stanley Yelnats IV's great-great-grandfather) Anglicised the spelling of his name upon immigrating, changing the J's to Y's.

* Consider. The curse of bad luck states that it would be cured by having Madame Zeroni carried up the mountain (in LATVIA, or the original country of origin for Stanley's family) so that she could drink from the water while being sung to. I was under the impression that the spring was somehow magical, but that could just be something I imagined of my own accord. In any case, the curse is cured when Stanley carries Zero up the mountain, lets him drink from the spring, and sings the song to him, right? Only that took place in AMERICA, nowhere near where Madame Zeroni lived. So, is it that the actual location doesn't matter as much as the symbolism itself?
** Yes, it was just symbolism. The only reason Elya Yelnats and the pig were getting bigger and stronger was that the pig was getting feed and presumably unsoiled water, and Elya was carrying a pig up and down a mountain once a day of size increasing slowly enough not to notice. My guess was that Madame Zeroni was guessing the girl was shallow enough and her father opportunistic enough to go for the guy with the big muscles whether his pig was bigger or not, and got PO'd that he left without paying before putting what may have been an ''actual'' curse on him.
*** It could also have been what the trip to the spring symbolized. According to Madame Zeroni, drinking from the spring would make her stronger (possibly the water was more pure or healthier at that spring) and it was implied that she would die soon. Thus, by forgetting his promise, Elya inadvertently shortened her life. When Stanley had Zero drink from the spring, he carried him up there and gave him water to save Zero from dying. In other words, he was giving him the chance to live longer that Madame Zeroni had been denied. So because Stanley had done that, the curse was lifted (or a shorter answer could be that the curse decided to not be picky since Stanley was saving the descendant of the caster).
*** Besides, Madame Zeroni said that the spring on the mountain had water that ran uphill. On God's Thumb, Stanley and Zero (once they're better) wonder about the nature of the spring, and think that the thumb is a natural water reservoir because that's the only explanation, considering "water doesn't run uphill." If we presume that the water at this spring ''did'' run uphill, Stanley and Zero just never noticed it, then that means the two springs both had water that had the same magical properties. So, it works.
*** The book states that the water on God's thumb runs uphill.
*** Or does it? It's only Sam who says the water at his secret onion patch runs uphill. Zero gives a natural explanation, so it's likely one of those MaybeMagicMaybeMundane situations.
*** Also, and this is coming from a Latvian, there are NO mountains in Latvia. Highest we get is a hill, called Gaizinsh and it's only 312 methers above the sea level.
**** Could be that the "mountain" in question was just a hill, which the locals ''called'' a mountain. (Kinda like in Denmark, which doesn't have mountains either -- one of the tallest hills in the country, 147 metres over sea level, is called "Himmelbjerget," which means "Sky-mountain".)
* Am I the only one who felt like it implied that that one guy Stanley was replacing, Barf Bag or whatever had committed suicide? Or maybe I'm just a morbid kid, since I was about eight years old when I read it and assumed that.
** The implication was indeed that Barf Bag intentionally got himself bitten by a rattlesnake. The film goes so far as to show him in the opening scene, spotting the snake and then taking his shoes off, walking over to it, and holding out his foot for it to bite him. However, both the book and the film mention that Barf Bag lived, and Mr. Sir says that most of the time you can survive a rattlesnake bite. Barf Bag knew this, and was trying to get sent to the hospital in order to escape Camp Greenlake, rather than trying to commit suicide.
* Would Stanley actually be convicted in Real Life? How strong is the case against him, I mean, didn't he have an alibi?
** He did, as the patent lawyer discovered towards the end, but it seems that early on he wasn't clear enough on the details of when the shoes were stolen to figure out what he was doing at the time.
** It's rare that completely innocent people are convicted of those kind of crimes but a lot of times getting the right lawyer is all the difference in the world. The Yelnats couldn't afford a decent lawyer at the time.
** Also keep in mind Stanley's family curse. A lot of his conviction was possibly the bad luck from that.
*** Heck, when asked whose fault it is that he's at Green Lake, Stanley replies, "My no-good dirty-rotten pig-stealing great-great-grandfather." Stanley, at least, attributes it to the curse.
** Actually, according to the book, Stanley ''didn't have'' a lawyer at all, which a pretty hair-pulling case of FridgeLogic and HollywoodLaw, since it's constitutionally mandated that a defendant must be appointed a lawyer if they can't afford one. Dammit, Sachar...
*** [[AWizardDidIt Your mortal laws have no meaning to Madame Zeroni's curse.]] Seems like a bit of a stretch, but it's really the only logical explanation.
*** IT isn't that you must have a lawyer, you have THE RIGHT to one. Zeroni's curse must of caused Stanley to refuse that right.
*** That's not what happened at all. The book explicitly says Stanley's family couldn't afford a lawyer, not that they refused one.
* In the "Guide to Surviving Camp Green Lake", Stanley says that once you get your nickname it means you've been accepted by the community. Twitch, Zero's replacement, seems to get his nickname the day he arrives to camp, and yet the next day everyone hates him because he's just so annoying. So if they hate him, why did he get nicknamed so fast?
** Everyone gets their nicknames as soon as they arrive. Persumably, a nickname means you have been recognized by the others as being in group D, not a mark of friendship and popularity.
** Acceptance doesn't mean that everyone stops thinking something is seriously wrong with you. Remember Armpit and Zero? Armpit fit in relatively well, though everyone thought he really needed to shower more. Zero seemed to be a bit of an outcast, despite having a nickname. I guess acceptance in this case means you are a part of the community, though it might take a while longer to be considered a real member of the tent 'family' (in this case 'D' tent).
* I barely remember much from the book, so I'm going just by the movie on this one. Why are Stanley's so-called "friends" so ungrateful to him? He gave one of them a piece of junk that he himself found so that the other guy can have the rest of the day off, and took the fall for another guy when Mr. Sir thinks that he stole his bag of sunflower seeds, and yet they still treat him poorly and rat him out on teaching Zero how to read in exchange for helping him dig his hole. Shouldn't Stanley feel any bit of bitterness or pissed off after all he's done for them?
** They view it it as kind of a rule that once you're part of the group you stick out your neck for them. In their eyes, Stanley wasn't just nice by taking the blame for the theft, he was doing what he supposed to. It's one of those rules of theirs, like "call everyone by their nickname" or "always let X-ray have his special shovel". Stanley may have been angry at them, but at the time he was more worried about what's happened to Zero, so that was his main concern.
** Also, Stanley didn't give Kissin' Kate's lipstick to X-Ray just to be nice. Remember that the whole reason they're digging is to find Kate's buried treasure, which is why they're trucked out to a different patch of desert every day; even if Stanley doesn't realize what the Warden's real motivation is, it's not inconceivable that he'd realize the possibility that there might be something else at the spot where he found the lipstick. (If I'm remembering correctly, legends about Kissin' Kate's lost treasure are common even among kids Stanley's age.) Letting X-Ray have it, and telling him to wait until the next day to tell Mr. Sir, is his way of throwing them off so they'd end up digging in the wrong spot; only Stanley would know where the lipstick really came from.
** Stanley didn't know about that about Kate Barlow having lived in the area yet. He only put it together that she might have buried treasure in this desert after he started teaching Zero. As for telling X-Ray to not reveal the tube until tomorrow, it was pretty just telling him the smart thing to do (aka niceness) and partly because he wanted to think of some way that he could also get credit for finding it. However, he couldn't think of anything.
** They were most likely pissed off because they felt that he was slacking off. Nobody volunteers to go to Camp Green Lake, and things like the lipstick tube were one-offs. Stanley was getting a lot of time off, and probably the others felt that this was unfair- after all, he could have taught Zero to read for no payment whatsoever, and the only people benefitting from teaching Zero were Stanley and Zero. In a place like Camp Green Lake, it's best to try to benefit as many people as possible by your acts.
** Because the boys at Camp Green Lake are hardened. It doesn't mean they're bad people, but most of them had a rough time of it before coming to Camp Green Lake, and the Camp itself made it worse -- even Stanley grew hard-hearted towards Zero, at first. But Stanley does have a kind heart, so he probably didn't hold it against them too badly.

* I haven't read the book in forever so maybe the explanation is in there, but why is Pendanski nice (enough) to everyone except Zero?
** Because Zero just doesn't react. It makes Pendanski think he's safe and doesn't have to worry about retaliation. Likely he started being nice to him, but ''everyone'' picks on Zero and eventually he caught on to doing that too.
*** Also, it's an early hint that Mr. Pendanski isn't quite what he seems.

* Supposedly, the original pig lullaby rhymes in Latvian but not in English, so Elya Yelnats' wife changed the words, hence why when Stanley sings it to Zero, Zero says he remembers it but the words were different. So how come Stanley grew up with the version that ''doesn't'' rhyme in English - whether it rhymes in Latvian I don't know - and Zero's mother sings him the version that ''does''?
** It does. "Cries"-"skies", "lonely"-"only". Stanley's does rhyme in English.
*** It doesn't say anything about skies. Unless I've entirely misread it every time I've read the book, Stanley's version is "...just a little bit softer." You only hear "...as soft as the skies" once, from Zero's mother at the very end.
*** The film retcons the song a bit to include the "skies" part, making the whole thing rhyme. Sachar wrote the screenplay, so likely that too was his choice.
** Also, (same Latvian as above) no, it doesn't rhyme in Latvian at all. "Cries" - "Skies" = "Raud" - "Debesis" and "lonely"-"only" = "vientuli"-"tikai"
** If I remember correctly, the original pig lullaby (the one that doesn't rhyme in English) begins "If only, if only, the woodpecker sighs/ The bark on this tree was just a little bit softer." When Elya Yelnats moved to America, he and his wife translated it to English and changed the words to make it rhyme so that it begins "If only, if only, the woodpecker sighs/ The bark on this tree was as soft as the skies." Both versions probably got passed down through the family, so Stanley would know the original version. As for Zero's mother's version, I always assumed that was another verse that Madame Zeroni never taught to Elya Yelnats.
** Two different people can translate the same poem from one language into another, and get two poems that are very different (see ''The Rubaiyat.'') Add in two different people with very different cultural and linguistic influences, and filter it through the generations, and only the bones will remain.

* Did the warden ever think to use some kind of metal detector, like a ground imager? If the goal was to find a padlocked box full of shiny metal, the least effective way was to dig random holes while hoping the box would eventually be found.
** I think while she hoped to find the treasure, she was perfectly happy helping "young men build character" as part of her vindictive quest. From a practical perspective, covering every inch of desert might seem daunting, even with imaging technology; employing her cover of youth digging holes lets her rest in AC while the search continues. Arming all the boys with metal detectors would give up the game.
*** Right, and if the State of Texas figured out what was going on, they'd stop paying her and providing her free labor.
** Or maybe she's just crazy. After all, digging holes did drive her grandfather insane.
** Most likely it never occured to her. A simple metal detecter could help, but there is still a lot of ground to cover. Covering the entire desert with imagaging technology would take a lot of resources,and would make people wonder what she was up to. Also, she had no way of knowing what exactly was in the box or what the box made of.
** The Camp Green Lake scheme is better in that it provides her with a constant source of income even without the treasure. The Warden gets paid in tax money due to running a state-sponsored detention camp, and her duties seen in the book are rather little; she mostly lounges in her cabin while her subordinates handle the bossing around. Additionally, the Warden is heir to a huge plot of land that, being desert, is basically useless and has little incentive for potential buyers she could sell it to. (It only got sold to the Girl Scouts after it started raining there again.) So while using a metal detector would find the treasure faster, it would ultimately leave her with less money than running Camp Green Lake simultaneously would. After the money from the treasure runs out, she'd then have to find a new potentially harder job and still be stuck with a now-even-more worthless patch of land.
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