Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy Tone

By Ruth White

Tone

Funny and Conversational

Because the entirety of Belle Prater's Boy is told from Gypsy's perspective, the tone is that of a twelve-year-old girl who finds life pretty amusing and likes adding her own bits of commentary. Gypsy is known for telling jokes, so she has something funny to say about everyone in town. For example, when she talks about the principal's wife, she says:

Mr. Cooper, the school principal, was okay, but he was married to a killjoy. She could hardly stand to see folks enjoying life, especially kids. It got on her nerves so bad, I was sure she lay awake nights thinking up ways to put a stop to it. (6.56)

Ha, right? Gypsy brings wry humor to her observations, which has the effect of both making an otherwise pretty serious book (hey there, suicide and parental abandonment) pretty fun to read and helping establish the conversational tone. We feel like we're sitting in Gypsy's tree house as she talks to us instead of reading some formal report about the life and times of Gypsy Leemaster.

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