Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy The Nightmares

By Ruth White

The Nightmares

Poor Gypsy wakes up many nights with terrible nightmares about an animal lying in a pool of blood. Fortunately for Gypsy, this terrible experience is always met by her mother coming in to soothe and take care of her:

I woke up crying for my mother, and I didn't feel grown-up at all, nor did I want to be. She came to me as she always did, gentle and silent, rocking me like a baby in her arms.

"I can't see its face, Mama," I sobbed. "Why can't I make out its face?"

She said nothing, but the sadness in her eyes told me she knew the answers and could not bear to tell me. (5.50-52)

There's a real contrast here, right? The vivid horror of the dream and then the steadfast comfort of Gypsy's mom. And so it goes in Gypsy's life. The dreams keep cropping up because Gypsy represses the memories of her father's death. During the day she pretends it never happened, but at night the dreams invade her subconscious, forcing her to confront her feelings about his suicide. As the dreams become more frequent, Gypsy realizes that she has to face her demons:

Sometimes I would wake up with a tear on my cheek, haunted by the memory of blood on the face of a dead animal. I would look out my open window at the stars at such times, and I could almost recall what it was the nightmare was trying to tell me—almost. The ugly thing seemed ready to come out and show itself to me. (17.14)

After finally admitting that her father committed suicide and that she's the one who found his body, Gypsy is able to move past the dreams. She is no longer tormented by her nightmares because she's looked the worst thing in her life in the eyeher father's suicide and her experience of finding him.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...