Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy Compassion and Forgiveness

By Ruth White

Compassion and Forgiveness

Gypsy has a hard time forgiving people in Belle Prater's Boy. She can't get over the fact that her father killed himself even though he knew it would hurt his family, and she can't forgive her stepfather, Porter, for coming in and taking his place.

Gypsy's not the only one who struggles to forgive, though, and even though Woodrow is a super easygoing kid, he's engaged in his own battle to forgive his mother for leaving him behind. And when Gypsy learns about Aunt Belle's past, she realizes that Aunt Belle has never forgiven Love for stealing her beau and marrying him.

People hurt each other in a million ways in this book, but they don't always mean to—and that's why characters have to learn to forgive and move on.

Questions About Compassion and Forgiveness

  1. Do you think Gypsy and Woodrow truly forgive Amos and Belle at the end? Why or why not? Prove your answer with evidence from the text.
  2. Do you think Aunt Belle was ever able to forgive Love and Amos for falling in love? Why or why not?
  3. How do you think Uncle Everett feels about Aunt Belle leaving him? How can you tell?
  4. Why does Woodrow get so upset when he overhears Gypsy asking Grandpa if Uncle Everett is involved in Belle's disappearance?

Chew on This

By the end of the book, Woodrow and Gypsy realize they must let go of their anger and forgive their parents for leaving. After all, they didn't do it out of malice; they did it out of pain.

Even though both her parents are known for their good looks, Gypsy is most impressed by the compassion they show toward Blind Benny. She doesn't care what they look like, she just cares that they're good people.

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