Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy Sadness

By Ruth White

Sadness

Gypsy, like a lot of characters in Belle Prater's Boy, is dealing with a whole lot of sadness. She has terrible nightmares about finding her father after he committed suicide, and even though it's been years since his death, the pain of his absence is still fresh. And Woodrow is hurting from his mother's disappearanceā€”even though he knows that she had to leave because she was carrying around so much sadness inside of her. It just goes to show that even when people seem like they're doing fine, they're sometimes carrying around an ocean of sadness.

Questions About Sadness

  1. What do Gypsy's recurring nightmares represent? Why does she keep having them? To jump start your thinking, swing by the "Symbols" section.
  2. Why does Gypsy freak out in the middle of watching Rear Window? Read the passage closely to dig deep into what happens.
  3. How does Woodrow feel about his mother's disappearance? How does this change and how does it remain the same?
  4. Why doesn't Gypsy know Aunt Belle better? Why didn't she and her mother visit more?

Chew on This

Gypsy treats Porter with disdain and aggression because she's lashing out over the pain of her father's death.

Aunt Belle didn't leave Coal Station because she wanted to spite Love and Amos; she did it because she was too sad to stay.

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