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Authors are able to make an impact on their readers and influence the way in which they comprehend and conduct themselves in the world. They achieve this by incorporating into their writing, themes that withstand the tests of time and hold true through generations. A theme is a message about life that an author wants the reader to understand. Author, Louis Sachar, brings to light the theme of friendship in his novel 'Holes'. Friends have the ability to keep us mentally and physically strong, they help us weather lonely times and they improve the quality of our lives.
The benefits of forming solid friendships are clearly illustrated in 'Holes'. Although the book was first published in1998, the theme of friendship is still relevant in modern society.
Firstly, solid friendships can keep us strong both mentally and physically. This idea is shown in the novel when Stanley and Zero climb the mountain to Big Thumb. The boys are trying to survive their escape from Camp Green Lake and in doing so their trust and reliance in each other grows deeper.
Each of the boys suffer both mentally and physically in order to help the other survive. Sachar vividly describes how Stanley and Zero literally lift and pull each other up the steep ledge. "He gathered his strength and for a brief second seemed to defy gravity as he took a quick step up the wall and, with Zero's help, pulled himself the rest of the way over the ledge·Zero had deep gashes in both hands.
He had held onto the metal blade of the shovel, keeping it in place as Stanley climbed." (pg.: #) This display of mental and physical strength is a metaphor for the role friends play in life. Zero bleeds for Stanley when he holds the blade of the shovel to lift Stanley and then Stanley carries Zero when he is no longer able to stand. The boys characterise the theme of friendship as they sacrifice for one and other. The importance of mental and physical strength is a concept that is still relevant in modern society.
Secondly, a strong friendship can help us to weather lonely times. Friends may not completely cure loneliness but they can teach us how to accept kindness and reach out when we need help. The friendship between Stanley and Zero begins to flourish when Zero helps Stanley to dig his hole after the sunflower seed incident. This act of kindness from Zero softens Stanley and in return he offers to teach Stanley to read. "I'll teach you to read if you want," Stanley offered. "I don't know if I know how to teach, but I'm not worn out today, since you dug a lot of my hole." A big smile spread across Zero's face." (pg.: #) Zero's smile at hearing Stanley's offer symbolises the theme of friendship. Camp Green Lake is a challenging place and the two boys find comfort and support in each other. Throughout the story, Stanley and Zero confirm the power of friendship as they hep one and other work through difficulties in a lonely environment. Both boys grow and transform as a result of the comradeship, respect and faith that they have for each other. Even in contemporary society, where social media keeps us connected with multiple people, we can appreciate the importance of having even one special person who truly knows and understands us. A special bond like this can be the key to coming out of loneliness.
Lastly, great friendships definitely improve the quality of our lives. Friends can change our value system and as a result we learn how to inject more meaning into our lives. While Stanley and Zero stay at Big Thumb, doing well after their incredible escape from camp Green Lake, Stanley has time to reflect on his new feelings of happiness. "As Stanley stared at the glittering night sky, he thought there was no place he would rather be. He was glad Zero put the shoes on the parked car. He was glad they fell from the over pass and hit him on the head." (pg.#) Stanley's values and beliefs are beginning to change. He is able to acknowledge that he is glad Zero put the stolen sneakers on the parked car. Stanley is able to make the connection that it was this action that resulted in him meeting and bonding with Zero. For the first time in his life, Stanley has a true friend. Readers even get the feeling that Stanley believes that all of the hardships he has suffered have been worth it for what he has secured; a true friend. It is still true today that a true friendship has the power to enhance the quality of our lives.
Overall, Louis Sachar's message to us, in his novel 'Holes' is that we are all deserving of friends. Stanley learns that he is a good person who deserves to have friends. He learns that the friendship he made with Zero finally made him feel good about himself and his life. Even in modern society we can appreciate that true friendships have the power to give us strength, make difficult times more bearable and generally make our lives better. We should treat our friends well and always be loyal and honest with them.
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