Belle Prater's Boy

by Ruth C. White

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Will somebody please explain to me what is a summary for Chapters 21-22 in Belle Prater's Boy?

It doesn't have to be a summary, but just explain what happened.

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Woodrow convinces Gypsy to come with him on an adventure; they will go with Blind Benny on his rounds. Benny shows the children his new shoes, which the "boys at the hardware" store got him, explaining that the boys are like family, and that he has Gypsy's parents to thank for that. Benny was born blind, and his parents died when he was only twelve. To support himself, he became a "sin eater," which is someone who takes the sins of dead upon himself by eating a banquet placed on the deceased's casket, so that he or she can "go to...glory clean and free." Benny did this for fifteen years, and was shunned by the townspeople because of it, until he met Gypsy's dad, who told him the sin eater concept was "a bunch of ignorant superstitious nonsense." Gypsy's dad brought Benny with him to Coal Station, Virginia, where he was opening a hardware store. He gave the blind man a permanent place to stay, enabling him to start a new life. Benny, Gypsy, and Woodrow sing and tell jokes as Benny gathers things people have left for him outside their houses, and when they finally return home, Gypsy realizes the joy that arises when people are good to others. She looks at Benny and Woodrow through eyes of love, and recongizes that this has been one of the happiest nights of her life (Chapter 21).

At Granny's birthday dinner, Woodrow reads an essay defending his belief

"that Blind Benny, even with his poor sightless eyes, is the only person (he) knows who can see with perfect clarity...because Benny is able to see beyond appearances."

Porter proposes a special toast to Granny, then announces that the towns folks think it is time for Gypsy to have her own formal piano recital. Although Gypsy is at first stunned, she feels "a thrill of excitement beginning to grow." Doc Dot then makes a second announcement, concerning Woodrow. She has a doctor friend in Baltimore, who has agreed to see if something can be done about Woodrow's eyes; the chances of a successful operation appear to be promising. Now it is Woodrow's turn to be elated, and Gypsy calls the party "by far the best one (they) ever had" (Chapter 22).

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