The protagonist of Holes. Stanley is a teenage boy who was arrested for a crime he didn't commit.
Adaptational Attractiveness: In the book, Stanley starts out being overweight, but eventually loses weight from digging. In the movie, he is portrayed by Shia LaBeouf; a thin, fit, and quite attractive young man. Mostly a case of Pragmatic Adaptation, as it would have been difficult to portray a protagonist rapidly losing weight over the course of a film.
Took a Level in Badass: A month and a half at Camp Green Lake has him become stronger, lose a lot of weight and be more confident and happy with himself.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: Can be a bit of one, which sometimes gets him in trouble. He mistakenly assumed Camp Green Lake would be a nice place (it wasn't), that Livingston's shoes would solve his family's poverty (they got him arrested), and that him and Zero meeting was destiny (perhaps it might).
Mr. Exposition: In the film he explains the backstory about Elya Yelnats and the family curse.
Stanley Yelnats I
The protagonist's great-grandfather, who was robbed by outlaw Kissing Kate Barlow and left stranded in the desert.
Butt Monkey: He was a successful financier, but had his fortune robbed from him by Kissin' Kate.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Assumed to be one due to saying he "found refuge on God's thumb", though he was just a bit senile from being dehydrated and hungry after being stranded in the desert for seventeen days.
The Cuckoolander Was Right: Turns out "God's thumb" is a mountain oasis several miles from Camp Green Lake shaped like a fist giving a thumbs-up.
The protagonist's "no good, dirty, rotten, pig stealing great-great-grandfather", who is responsible for getting his family cursed with bad luck.
Butt Monkey: Became one after forgetting to bring Madame Zeroni up the mountain. He's also blamed to the present day for causing the family curse, being though of as a no good dirty rotten thief by his descendants.
Love Makes You Dumb: He was too infatuated with Myra to realize she was dumber than a brick, until he decides she isn't worth it.
Hoist by His Own Petard: The "sploosh" he eats after running away saves him from starving, but it also fills his stomach with a century's worth of bacteria.
Honor Before Reason: After running away from Camp Green Lake, he refuses to return despite dying of thirst out in the desert.
Missing Mom: His mother was frequently missing from his life, ordering him to stay in one point and not leave until she returned for him. One day she never returned. At the end of the book, he hires a team of investigators to find her, and is reunited with his mother again.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Everyone thinks Zero's an idiot, since he never reacts to anything they say to him, but he really does it because he's knows it's smarter to keep his mouth shut.
The Big Guy: Big enough that his school's coach keeps begging for him to be on the football team.
Nonindicative Name: Armpit is explained to have gotten his name not from being smelly, but because a scorpion once stung him in the armpit and he wouldn't stop complaining about it. (In the movie, it is because he's smelly.)
X-Ray (Rex Washburn)
The Leader: Of the D Tent boys, and comes close to being the leader among all the boys at the camp.
Jerkass: He's nice if you agree with him. Don't, and have fun watching the rest of the camp abandon you with him. He's also a bit of a bully to Stanley, doing things like taking his food early on, and making Stanley give up the gold lipstick tube belonging to Kate Barlow he found just so he can get a day off.
After he gets out of Camp Green Lake, he clearly has learned nothing and goes back to the same get-rich-quick schemes.
Not What It Looks Like: X-Ray was arrested for selling what everyone thought was cocaine and marijuana, but it turned out to be chopped up aspirin and parsley. However, selling aspirin without a pharmaceutical license was still illegal.
The Old Convict: A form of it. He's been around the longest and adjusted the best to Camp Green Lake, too well in Stanley's opinion, and thus is the best at coercing the others to agree with him.
Berserk Button: DO NOT touch his TV, or he will crush your hand into the dial button so hard it will cut open your hand.
Beware the Silly Ones: Zigzag may seem harmlessly weird, but smart campers realize that the crazy ones are worse than the mean ones.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He has frizzy hair and a long neck, reads an old TV guide like he's reading it for the first time every time, watches the broken TV in the Wreck Room, and always knows what the time and date is.
Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: At one point he tried to escape Camp Green Lake by hitching a ride on the supply truck. An hour later, he showed up at dinner and asked for the ketchup, the others going along with it and not asking what happened.
Sticky Fingers: Where his nickname comes from. He was arrested for stealing a puppy he felt was overpriced (it was apparently $1000) and at his house the police found $12,000 worth of stolen merchandise. Magnet even claims his fingers are like little magnets. Even at Camp Green Lake, he still can't resist stealing things.
The inmate who previously occupied Stanley's place, until he was taken to the hospital.
Pet the Dog: He gives a few favors to Stanley, such as offering him a ride back in his truck or giving him extra water after Mr. Sir stops giving him any.
Playful Hacker: In The Guide to Surviving Camp Green Lake, it's revealed he was expelled for hacking his college's database and changing the grades. This gets him hired by the Warden.
Token Good Teammate: His kindness contrasts the sternness of Mr. Sir and the Warden. It's all an act, though.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: He often assures the boys that they've still got a life past Camp Green Lake, even though it feels like they've been digging forever. At one point he even holds a meeting to ask them what job they hope to get. This is all an act and a means of manipulation.
The Warden (Louise Walker)
Portrayed By: Sigourney Weaver
The Warden runs Camp Green Lake, and owns the desert it's on. For the most part she's never seen by the campers, and they and the staff know better than to mess with her.
Big Bad: She's the head of the camp, and everyone else answers to her.
Catch Phrase: "Excuse me?" When she says this, you know that you are digging two holes: the one you're supposed to do, and your grave.
Faux Affably Evil: Her politeness and casual manner doesn't fool anyone. As soon as she faces you, it's clear who definitely is the one in charge.
Freudian Excuse: Her grandfather (Trout Walker) was not a pleasant person, and forced her to dig for Kate Barlow's money in the desert everyday, even on Christmas.
Humiliation Conga: Goes through this, especially at the end of the movie. First her authority breaks down, then Stanley finds the chest, and it has his name on it. She's not allowed to have it because it has his name on it, Stanley refuses to let her look inside, and she and the other camp staff are arrested.
I Never Told You My Name: Somehow she knows Stanley's nickname even though he never met her before. When he asks the others about this, they tell him she has tiny security cameras.
Pragmatic Villainy: In her first appearance she rewards X-Ray with a day off and a double shower for finding Kate Barlow's lipstick tube, then tells Mr. Pendanski to refill everyone's canteen, even though they just had their hourly refill five minutes ago. Although she acts as though it's a Pet the Dog moment from her, it's really just to motivate them into digging harder in hopes of finding more treasure.
Samus Is a Girl: She's not revealed to be a woman until a third of the way into the book.
Residents of Green Lake
"Kissing Kate" Katherine Barlow
An infamous outlaw of the Wild West who robbed settlers and kissed the men she killed. This feared bandit, however, used to be a sweet schoolteacher who brewed delicious spiced peaches in the idyllic town of Green Lake.
Broken Bird: She was a sweet and beloved teacher until her schoolhouse was burnt down and her black lover killed, after which she went off the deep end and became a murderous outlaw.
Dying Curse: She didn't expect to die right after, but before she gets bitten by a deadly lizard she tells Trout Walker that he and his descendants could dig for the next 100 years and they wouldn't find the treasure she buried. Exactly 100 years later, the treasure is found by Stanley, and he deliberately snubs Trout Walker's granddaughter the Warden from seeing it.
Miss Katherine: It's so hot, Sam, but I feel so cold...
Kiss of Death: Her trademark, which she adopted after a drunken sheriff pressured her for one. The next day she gave him the kiss after she killed him, and subsequently kept up the practice for every person she killed.
Hot Teacher: Lampshaded. She teaches two courses, one for children and one for adults. The adults are more interested in her than in an education. But all they ever got was an education.
A black onion farmer who lived at Green Lake, who was well liked by the citizens for his delicious onions and the remedies he came up with them. However after kissing Kate Barlow, the whole town turns against him.
The Cuckoolander Was Right: Plenty of his customers aren't really sure if his onion remedies really work, but buy them anyway because they don't like to take chances. A century later, though, they're proven to actually work when the onions from his now-deserted garden save Zero from death by food poisoning and discourage yellow spotted lizards from biting them.
The Lost Lenore: Male example. His death turns Kate into a fearsome outlaw, and 20 years later she's still mourning him. It also marks the day the drought on Green Lake began.
An Egyptian fortuneteller and mentor to Elya Yelnats, responsible for the curse on the Yelnats family. She disapproves of his romantic longing for Myra Menke, but helped him anyway in making him a more attractive suitor.