Belle Prater's Boy Summary & Study Guide

Ruth White
This Study Guide consists of approximately 43 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Belle Prater's Boy.
This section contains 474 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Belle Prater's Boy Summary & Study Guide Description

Belle Prater's Boy Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Belle Prater's Boy by Ruth White.

Belle's Prater's Boy by Ruth White is the story of Gypsy Leemaster and Woodrow Prater, two cousins separated by money and lifestyle, who help one another find the strength to confront their pasts. Both wounded by the actions of their parents, these two cousins help one another learn the value of friendship, and learn that beauty comes from within.

Woodrow Prater is twelve years old when his mother disappears from their shack in the mountains. Unable to cope, his father begins to drink, and Woodrow is sent to live with his mother's parents. Next door to them lives his cousin, Gypsy Arbutus Leemaster, her mother, Love, and her stepfather, Porter Dotson. Gypsy's family is wealthy and privileged, whereas Woodrow's is impoverished and of a lower class. From the beginning, however, Gypsy and Woodrow seem to forge a friendship based on commonality neither thought was possible. Gypsy is beautiful but finds her beauty a burden, making most people look past the true person inside. Woodrow, on the other hand, is cross eyed and finds that people often look past his personality, as well.

Gypsy learns that Woodrow believes his mother is trapped between two worlds, and she longs to believe him, but questions his theory. Gypsy herself understands the loss of a parent, as her father was killed when she was only five years of age. Gypsy is unable to accept her stepfather and often finds herself either ignoring him or hating him, but she adored her father. Through the summer, Gypsy continues to push Woodrow for answers as the two become close friends. Woodrow befriends a local homeless man, Blind Benny, who turns out to have known and traveled with Gypsy's father. Born without eyes, Blind Benny is not attractive, but both Woodrow and Gypsy learn to see beyond his features to find a loving, caring human being.

When at school one day the following fall, Gypsy is telling a new teacher of her father's accidental death, when someone blurts out that Gypsy's father committed suicide. Gypsy is forced to face her true past. As she remembers her father, she recalls being the person to find his lifeless, bloody body after he shot himself in the head. He had been disfigured following his attempt to save a baby from a burning house, and he could not live with his looks. In retaliation against his selfish act, Gypsy cuts off all her hair and grieves in anger. Over time, however, she is able to forgive her father, as well as to accept Porter as her stepfather. Woodrow follows suit, and admits to Gypsy that he knows his mother simply walked away from her life to begin a new one somewhere else. Together, the two cousins are able to face their pasts, accept them, and move into the future as young adults.

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This section contains 474 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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