Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy Chapter 7

By Ruth White

Chapter 7

  • An hour later, they're both sitting on the porch of the tree house while Woodrow tells Gypsy about this place up in Crooked Ridge (where he used to live) where the air is thick with vibrations, and sometimes you can hear funny noises that sound like garbled voices.
  • He says that sometimes when he was running around in that place, he'd feel like he was running into something—but there was nothing there. He thinks it's the place where two worlds touch, just like in the poem.
  • Then he says that his mother knew about the place and they used to talk about it, until one day she said that they shouldn't say anything about it anymore and that he was imagining things. But he still saw her walking around back and forth out there.
  • Gypsy gets all suspicious and asks Woodrow if he's pulling her leg, but he tells her that he's being completely serious; it's all true.
  • Then they hear someone singing, and Gypsy tells him that it's just Blind Benny, a man who walks the street at night and sings and goes through peoples' trash. He almost has no eyes left so people say nasty things to him, and that's why he only comes out at night now.
  • Woodrow tells Gypsy that his mother read him a book about a man who was in prison at Alcatraz and how awful it as being in a straitjacket. His mother told him that this was how she felt—stuck in a straitjacket as if she couldn't move or breathe.
  • Then Woodrow tells her that sometimes he feels like Aunt Belle is trying to contact him, because he wakes up and remembers her voice from a dream. She's crying and afraid in his dreams, and her voice quivers like the voices in that strange place.
  • Gypsy feels a bit spooked out and hurries across the yard to the back of the house, planning to sneak back in through her window.
  • Before she can get there, though, she runs into Porter, who is standing outside and smoking. He tells her that he won't ask her what she's doing if she just sneaks back in and tosses a match out the window so that he can smoke.
  • Gypsy does just that and crawls back into her bed, listening to the sound of Blind Benny's singing as she falls asleep.
  • That night, she doesn't have her usual nightmare.

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