Chapter 20 Summary

Opal tells Gloria about why Otis was arrested, and Gloria laughs at the absurdity of the situation. Opal says that Otis is just so lonely that he wants to play his music for everyone all the time. Gloria says that sometimes things are just so sad they end up being funny. Then Opal tells Gloria what she learned from the preacher about Amanda’s brother, Carson, and how he drowned the year before. Gloria says that she remembers having heard about the drowning. Opal says she now understands that Amanda is so “pinch-faced” because she misses Carson, and she asks Gloria if she thinks that everybody is missing somebody. Gloria says she thinks “the whole world has an aching heart.”

Opal does not want to keep thinking sad thoughts, so she offers to read more of Gone with the Wind to Gloria. As they settle into the story, Opal reads about Scarlett O’Hara, who is looking forward to going to a barbecue. Opal starts thinking about Otis and throwing him a party during which he can play his music. Opal proposes to have all her new friends come to the party in Gloria’s yard. She says they can make fancy peanut butter sandwiches. Gloria laughs, and then Opal changes her mind and proposes egg salad sandwiches instead. Opal does not know how to cook because her mother is not around, so she begs Gloria to teach her. Gloria agrees to host the party, and Opal hugs her in thanks. But Gloria makes Opal promise to invite the Dewberry boys to the party. Opal does not want Dunlap and Stevie at the party, but Gloria says that she will cancel the party otherwise, so Opal promises.

Opal begins to invite the preacher and all her friends to the party. When she asks Miss Franny to come, she is very excited and suggests that Opal also invite Amanda. Opal does not think Amanda will come, but she approaches her nervously and tries to be extra nice. Amanda says she would love to come. As promised, Opal invites the Dewberry boys. Stevie says he will not go to a witch’s house, but Dunlap smiles and says they will be there. Finally, Opal invites Otis, who becomes quite bashful at the thought of being around so many people. Opal tells him she will work in the pet shop free for one week if he comes and plays his guitar for everyone. Otis agrees to attend the party.