Stanley Yelnats is a boy who has been sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention camp because he is accused of stealing a pair of shoes. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and he believes his family's curse has something to do with it. Stanley's great-great grandfather, Elya Yelnats, got a pig from Madame Zeroni, a gypsy, in exchange that when the pig grows bigger and he grows stronger he would carry Madame Zeroni, who only has one leg, up a mountain. He forgot to do this so he believes the curse was because he failed to fulfill his committment. At the camp, the boys are forced to dig holes for character, so says the warden but really the warden is looking for specific items from the past. 100 years before Stanley arrived at Camp Green Lake, the school teacher, Katherine Barlow, falls in love with the onion seller, Sam. It is against the law for a black man to kiss a white women, so when the towns people find out that Sam kissed Katherine, they become outraged. Trout Walker is the richest man in town and has been in love with Katherine for sometime, but she doesnt feel the same way. He becomes angry that Sam and Katherine are in love and he burns down her school house and kills Sam. Katherine becomes furious and eventually becomes Kissin' Kate Barlow. She kisses the men she kills leaving a lipstick mark on their face. Kate robs Stanley's great grandfather's money and she buried it and died before anyone knew where it was. The day after Sam was killed, rain stopped falling and the lake became dried up. When Stanley is digging he finds a lipstick tube, with the initials of KB for kissing Kate Barlow. The warden becomes very interested because she was a descendent. Eventually Stanley's friend Zero runs away so Stanley goes off to find him. They both head to the top of the mountain, where they find Sam's old onion patch. They live off of onions for about a week, and decide to go back and dig one more time for the treasure. They eventually dig up the treasure and the warden tries to take it but they realize Stanley's name is on it and its his. At the end of the book is seems as if the curse has been lifted and things work out from there.
1. In the book, Stanley's family believe they have a curse, but by the end of the book the curse is gone. Do you believe there are really curses in the world or do you believe there are just coincidences?
2. While at Camp Green Lake Stanley does a lot of phyical labor, and by the end of the book, he not only becomes stronger but also mentally tough. Do you believe hard work pays off?