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The Yelnats Family
Stanley Yelnats IV
Portrayed By: Shia LaBeoufThe 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.
- Butt Monkey: At first.
- Classical Anti-Hero: Stanley starts out awkward, with low confidence (movie), and overweight (book). A few months at Green Lake changes that.
- Character Development
- Clear My Name: Stanley didn't steal Clyde Livingston's shoes, but was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Thus his arrest.
- Nice Guy
- 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).
Stanley Yelnats III
Portrayed By: Henry WinklerThe protagonist's father. He's an unsuccessful inventor who is looking for a way to recycle old sneakers.
- Bungling Inventor: He's trying to invent a way to recycle old sneakers. He has plenty of talent and persistence, but the family curse denies him luck.
- Butt Monkey: Like father, like son (as well as his own father and grandfather).
- Forgot to Pay the Bill: The poverty of his family means he and the landlord often fight over the rent payment.
- Happily Married: With Stanley's mother.
Stanley's motherThe mother of the protagonist, who doesn't believe in the family curse.
- Closer to Earth
- Happily Married: With Stanley's Father.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: She insists there's no curse on the family (or on the males). There is.
Stanley Yelnats IIThe protagonist's grandfather. He's exclusive to the movie.
- Canon Foreigner
- Catch Phrase: "It's all because of your no-good, dirty, rotten, pig-stealing great-great-grandfather!"
- Cool Old Guy
- Mr. Exposition: In the film he explains the backstory about Elya Yelnats and the family curse.
Stanley Yelnats IThe 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.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: Fell in love with the nurse that tended to him after he was rescued.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: For some unknown reason, Kate Barlow decided to spare his life.
Elya YelnatsThe 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.
- Nice Guy
Sarah Yelnats (nee Miller)Elya's wife after he moves to America.
- Nice Girl
- The Reliable One: She refuses to leave Elya even after he tells her he's cursed for breaking a promise.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: She's the only stroke of good luck in Elya's life after he was cursed.
- Screw Destiny: One could interpret her decision to stay with Elya this way.
- Woolseyism: In-universe, she changes the words of "the pig song" so that the lyrics rhyme in English.
Inmates of Camp Green Lake
Zero (Hector Zeroni)The youngest of the D Tent boys, who keeps to himself and rarely speaks to anybody.
- Berserk Button: Messing with Stanley.
- Barefoot Poverty: While he lived on the streets, hence why he stole Clyde Livingston's shoes.
- The Dog Bites Back: After Mr. Pendanski taunts him one time too many, Zero swings his shovel into his face.
- Fragile Speedster: He's small but the fastest digger.
- 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 Quiet One: Stanley's the only one he starts to talk to.
- The Reveal: He's descended from Madame Zeroni, and the real thief of Clyde Livingston's shoes.
- Shrinking Violet: His usual demeanor.
Armpit (Theodore Johnson)
- Breakout Character: He received his own sequel, Small Steps.
- 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.
- Pig Latin: His nickname is his real name in Pig Latin.
- 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.
- Hypocritical Humor: Stanley considers it this when Zigzag calls Zero weird.
- Pyro Maniac: He was arrested for burning styrofoam on his school's lawn, only for the flames to get out of control and burn down a portable classroom.Zigzag: I didn't want to hurt anyone. I just like watching things burn.
- Wild Hair: Named for his stand-up, frizzy hair.
- The Alcoholic: His mother is one.
- Disappeared Dad: He left many years ago.
- Don't Ask: He snarls at Stanley to leave him alone when the latter overhears him crying.
- The Generic Guy
- Noodle Incident: We never find out what he got arrested for, but he eventually tells Stanley to apologize to his mother for him.
- Sand In My Eyes: "I got allergies, okay?"
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Magnet never said what happened after he leapt on the supply truck to escape. The others never asked him either.
- 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.
Barf BagThe inmate who previously occupied Stanley's place, until he was taken to the hospital.
- Agony of the Feet: He stepped on a rattlesnake and got bitten. Intentionally.
- Deliberate Injury Gambit: What his rattlesnake bite turned out to be. He even took his shoe off first to make sure it happened.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: He deliberately got bit because he wanted to get out of Camp Green Lake.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Supposedly he often vomited. Good thing we weren't around to see it.
Twitch (Brian)An inmate who arrives after Stanley. He is constantly twitching, and loves fast cars.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: His attention span is very short, and he's implied to have ADHD.
- Fragile Speedster: He's the faster digger Camp Green Lake has ever had... for about 15 minutes. Then he loses his strength and grows too tired to dig.
- Hassle-Free Hotwire: He was arrested for hotwiring a sports car and stealing it for a joyride.
- Twitchy Everything: According to him, he starts twitching even more when he gets near a nice car.
Staff of Camp Green Lake
Mr. Sir (Marion Sevillo)
Portrayed By: Jon VoightOne of the head administrators of Camp Green Lake. He's the primary enforcer of the Warden.
- Addiction Displacement: He's constantly eating sunflower seeds in an effort to avoid smoking. He lapses back at the end of the book.
- Berserk Button: Don't ask him about the scars on his face after the Warden slashed him.
- The Dragon: The primary enforcer at the camp, and for a while Stanley thought he was the Warden.
- Gender-Blender Name: His first name is Marion.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: No wonder he prefers to be called Sir.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Midway through the book he gets three scars on the side of his face from the Warden slashing him with her rattlesnake venom-painted nails.
- Retired Outlaw: Implied to be one when the police arrest him at the end of the film.
Portrayed By: Tim Blake NelsonThe counselor of D Tent. He's much nicer than Mr. Sir, and claims he wants to reform the boys.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He's just as rotten as the other staffers, he just does a better job of hiding it.
- Faux Affably Evil: He is actually a complete sadist.
- Kick the Dog: While he's nice to almost all the campers, he's not above giving a jab or two to Zero. It's the first hint that he's not as nice as he really is.
- The Dog Bites Back: Zero snaps and hits him in the face with a shovel.
- 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 WeaverThe 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.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: After the camp staff has been arrested and Stanley and Hector, a.k.a. "Zero starts to leave, she begs Stanley to let her see what's in the treasure chest. Chances are she wanted to know what else she lost and what she was digging up in the first place.
- 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 BarlowAn 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.
- Died Laughing
- 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.
- Famous Last Words: "Start diggin'."
- Freudian Excuse: She snaps after Sam is killed and her schoolhouse is torched.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: She started off as just a schoolteacher in a small town. Then she became one of the most feared outlaws in all the West.
- I'm Cold... So Cold...: She says this verbatim at one point.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.
- Maligned Mixed Relationship: Her romance with Sam, a black man, turned the entire town against her.
- The Mourning After: Sam was the only man she ever loved. She grieves for him up to the day she dies.
- Sanity Slippage: Seeing your lover be murdered out of hatred and your schoolhouse be burnt to the ground right before your eyes would do that to you...
- Starcrossed Lovers: With Sam.
Charles "Trout" WalkerThe richest man of the Green Lake town, Trout had a little crush on Kate Barlow. When she rejects him, he doesn't take it very well.
- Abusive Parents: Was this towards his granddaughter (the future Warden of the camp), making her dig everyday for Kate's stash, even on Christmas.
- And Your Little Dog Too: Aside from killing Sam, he also shot Sam's donkey Mary Lou, just because.
- Bigger Bad: Even though he's long dead by time the main plot rolls around, his actions caused basically everything at Camp Green Lake.
- Break the Haughty: When the drought hit, his fortune dried up with the lake.
- Entitled Bastard
- Entitled to Have You: Towards Kate.Trout: (after Kate rejects an offer to go out with him) "No one ever says 'no' to Charles Walker!"Kate: "I believe I just did."
- Not Good with Rejection: After Kate rejects him, he responds by burning her school building down and killing her lover Sam in cold blood.
- Laser-Guided Karma: It stopped raining after he killed Sam, costing him his fortune. When he tried to rob the woman whom she drove to being an outlaw, she cursed him and his family to spend the rest of his days digging.
Sam the Onion ManA 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.
- Catch Phrase: "I can fix that."
- 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.
- Maligned Mixed Relationship: His romance with Kate, a white woman, turned the entire town against him.
- Meaningful Echo: "I can fix that." First the window, then a door, then the fact that Katherine is crying.
- Mr. Fixit: Kate starts asking him to fix things in the schoolhouse so she can have an excuse to see him, until it's so pristine there's nothing left to be fixed except her breaking heart.
- Nice Guy
- Starcrossed Lovers: With Kate.
- Where Da White Women At?: He and Kate both loved each other dearly.
Residents of Latvia
Madame ZeroniAn 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.
- An Arm and a Leg: She's missing her left foot, though it's never explained why.
- Anti-Villain: She was rather fond of Elya and initially wished him no malice, but put a curse on his line because he failed to repay his end of the bargain and likely cut short her life.
- Bigger Bad: She's the one who set the curse of bad luck on the Yelnats lineage.
- Chekhov's Gunman: She mentions she has a son in America, who Elya constantly searches for in faint hope that he can break the curse. But Zeroni's descendants don't show up again until Zero.
- Cool Old Lady: She was very helpful to Elya, giving him advice and telling stories. Until he forgot about his promise.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Okay, madame, we know you wanted to drink from the mountain stream, but did you really have to curse Elya's descendants who never did anything to you?
- Ethnic Magician: She was Egyptian, and seemingly put a curse upon Elya and his descendants.
- Uncanny Valley: In-universe. Her eyes are very large and her smile is too big for her face, which unnerves anybody that looks at her.
- We Used to Be Friends: Elya and Zeroni initially were friends, until he forgot to help her and she put a curse on him.
Myra MenkeThe beautiful daughter of Morris Menke, and Elya's object of affection.
- Brainless Beauty: Madame Zeroni describes her as having a head as empty as a flower pot.Elya: But she is beautiful.Madame Zeroni: So is a flowerpot.
- Dumb Blonde: At least in the movie, she appears to be one of the only blonde people in the cast set in Latvia, and she's dense as anything.
- Greed: Elya offers him love. Igor offers him a pig. In his words, "I'd rather have a fat pig."
- Jerkass: He laughs at Elya's request to marry Myra, and has no qualms about marrying her to someone forty years older than her.Madame Zeroni: Morris Menke is a schmuck.