Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy Blind Benny's Eyes

By Ruth White

Blind Benny's Eyes

Blind Benny is a man who wanders around Coal Station at night because people are too horrified by the sight of his eyes during the daytime. Even Gypsy has a hard time the first time she sees them close-up:

Blind Benny moved halfway into the dim light coming from the lamp. I could see his face and the legendary sightless eyes that were almost not there. They were like two little holes in his face, about the size of dimes, and not eyes at all. It was an automatic reflex for me to shrink from anything so hideous. (11.16)

But beneath his exterior, Blind Benny is a kind person who becomes a great friend to Gypsy and Woodrow. He even reveals that he used to be friends with Gypsy's father—who, like Gypsy and Woodrow, could also see past Blind Benny's looks to recognize the kind soul within.

By the end, Woodrow and Gypsy learn the important lesson that though Blind Benny's eyes keep him from seeing the world the way they do, his eyes actually help him see people as they really are. Woodrow even writes an essay about it:

"Therefore," Woodrow concluded the reading of his English assignment, "it is my belief that Blind Benny, even with his poor sightless eyes, is the only person I know who can see with perfect clarity. Because Benny is able to see beyond appearances." (22.1)

In the end, Blind Benny's messed-up eyes represent his ability to see people for their hearts and personalities instead of getting stuck on outward appearances. In a book in which appearances are so often deceiving, this arguably makes Blind Benny the character with the best vision of them all.

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