Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy Chapter 16

By Ruth White

Chapter 16

  • After the garden party, the adults pull out the rum bottle to make sure that it's still full and Woodrow really hasn't been slipping people alcohol.
  • Porter starts to laugh, and then all the other adults join in. They can't even keep their faces straight to yell at Woodrow for what he did, and Gypsy feels a little jealous that he gets away with so much.
  • One night while they're watching TV they get into an argument about whether you can be pretty without being nice. Woodrow says that pretty people can do anything they want and get away with it, which makes Gypsy mad.
  • She says that he did something wrong when he lied to Mrs. Cooper about the rum in her drink.
  • Later on, he talks about how he wants to go to a hospital in New York that operates on people with crossed eyes, and how he and his mother saved up about thirty dollars toward his surgery fund.
  • When she asks him where the money went, Woodrow suddenly gets furious. He brings up her father and asks her why she's so mad at Porter when he's not the one who left her.
  • Gypsy gets all worked up and says that her father didn't leave; he died. Woodrow starts to say something to contradict her but thinks better of it.
  • Later on some of their friends from school drop by and Woodrow tells them all a story about a girl who looks just like Gypsy with long golden hair.
  • The girl in the story had a husband, but she cheated on him and tried to get her lover to kill her husband. The husband found out and killed them both, burying the girl in the ground.
  • The ground started growing long golden hair and then it knotted around him and killed him.
  • That's when Woodrow tells the moral of the story: You should never have anything to do with a girl with long, golden hair because she'll tie you up in knots every time. This is obviously a cruel dig at Gypsy.
  • She storms home, cursing the whole way. Porter catches her and asks what she's doing, and she tells him that she doesn't want to be Love Ball Dotson's good little girl all the time. She wants to be herself, but no one sees her for who she really is.
  • Porter tells her that he can see her—even underneath all that hair. And that she's talented with music and creative and a great person. He also says that Aunt Belle was a lot like her, and she actually vanished many years ago emotionally, but now she's out there trying to find herself again.

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