Miracle Boy Summary

Summary (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“Miracle Boy,” told in the third person by an omniscient narrator, revolves around four young boys living in a small rural town. On their way home from school, Geronimo, Lizard, and Eskimo Pie bully and strip a classmate whose feet were cut off and reattached after a farming accident. The newspapers named the boy Miracle Boy after the eight-hour surgery, and his peers, having heard the old Bible tales of the burning bush and Lazarus, are interested in seeing what a miracle looks like.

They knock him down, remove his clothing, steal his walking cane, and pitch his therapeutic shoes high in the air, where they catch on the electric line overhead. As the boys examine his ankles, knotty with pearly white scars, Miracle Boy does not say a thing. The scarred and purple feet are not what the boys expected, and they claim that the feet are not the work of a miracle. However, Miracle Boy contradicts them, telling them that there are miracles around all people every day.

Although his friends receive corporal punishment for their part in the abuse, Lizard’s penalty is perplexing: He is made to invite Miracle Boy to his home to watch a film. Confused by this arrangement, Lizard watches Miracle Boy rather than the film. The two boys never say a word, but a fascination begins to grow in Lizard. He becomes preoccupied with Miracle Boy and with his old shoes weathering and dangling from the electric wires up above. His friends tell him to leave well enough alone, but Lizard devises a plan to retrieve the shoes.

Under the cover of darkness, Lizard drives penny nails into the utility pole that leads up to the rotting shoes, stands on each progressive nail, and ascends the pole. The transformer at the top of the pole, though charged with a deadly current, is a haven for Lizard after his treacherous climb, and he finally gains purchase on the prize. He takes the shoes to Miracle Boy’s house and is surprised when Miracle Boy appears at the end of the darkened hallway with a slow inward smile and calls him into the house. Lizard slowly responds to the boy’s invitation and offers the shoes to him as a gift.