What happened to Belle?
Belle never appears in person throughout the novel; she has married young and impulsively; her actions and fate are imporatant to a number of characters. For example, Woodrow "longs for her", Love feels badly that he was "not kinder to her" and Grandpa and Granny "wish they could have helped her."
Porter explains to Gypsy, "She actually vanished many years ago, when she was about your age. Now she is out there trying to find herself again."
The message, therefore, is instructive to characters who wish to avoid a similar fate of disappearance in their attempts to "find themselves."
Belle slipped away in the night whereing Woodrows clothes to disguise her footprints in the mud. Then she pretended to be a boy and probably joined a circus.
Belle dissapeared and woodrow said that she dressed in his clothes and took a hat to put her hair and so she could look as a boy and she caught a ride with the carnival