Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy Chapter 23

By Ruth White

Chapter 23

  • On the one-year anniversary of Aunt Belle's disappearance, Woodrow comes to Gypsy's window super early in the morning and whispers the lines of that poem to her.
  • She climbs out with her blanket and they head for the tree house; they can hear Blind Benny singing off in the distance.
  • Gypsy tells Woodrow that she wishes she had known Aunt Belle better, and he says that they would have liked each other a lot—she had a great imagination and always made things fun for him.
  • Then he tells her something that he's told no one: When the sheriff came to investigate Aunt Belle's disappearance, he asked if any of her clothes were missing. They weren't, but what Woodrow neglected to say was that his clothes were missing. She took a pair of his pants, a shirt, some socks, and a pair of shoes. She also took a cap, which she could have put her hair under, and the thirty dollars for his operation.
  • He believes that Belle hitched a ride with the carnival while dressed as a boy. Gypsy asks him if he's ever going to tell everyone what he knows, and Woodrow says that he'll tell them today, just to set their minds at ease.
  • He's always hoped that Aunt Belle would send him a message through the personal ads, but he never found one. He knows now that she's gone and won't ever look back, not even for her son.
  • They both fall silent thinking about their parents who left them on purpose despite knowing that it would hurt them. Gypsy decides that their parents did love them—it's just that their pain was bigger than their love.
  • She can't help but forgive her father when she thinks of it this way. The sun starts to come up and Woodrow says that they're in that in-between place that fascinated his mother so much.
  • They're in-between morning and night, childhood and adulthood, and summer and winter. Gypsy is in-between sleeping and waking, and as Woodrow talks she imagines her father riding over the mountain on a black horse.

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