Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy Memory and the Past

By Ruth White

Memory and the Past

Gypsy is the kind of girl who tries to put the past behind her. Trouble is, the memories that haunt her have a way of creeping up when she's least expecting it. And Gypsy has to live with a super hard memory: She found her father dead in her parents' bedroom at the ripe old age of five. Yikes.

Throughout Belle Prater's Boy, Gypsy tries to push this memory away, but try as she might, it keeps finding her in dreams until she finally confronts it and acknowledges the fact that her father killed himself. This is just one of many examples of the tendrils of the past wrapping themselves around the present in this book, though. Plenty of characters try to run, but none of them manage to hide.

Questions About Memory and the Past

  1. Why does the memory of finding her father's body keep cropping up as a nightmare for Gypsy? And why a dead animal instead of her dead father?
  2. Why do you think Gypsy's mother never wants to talk about how Amos died? How does this affect Gypsy as well as Love's relationship with Gypsy?
  3. Do you think that Belle will ever return to her old life? Why or why not?

Chew on This

The only truly happy characters in this book are those who look the past in the eye and make peace with it.

Love and Gypsy think that by never talking about Amos or his death, they're moving on with their lives. But by burying the past, they're preventing themselves from finding peace and truly moving on with their lives.

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