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Word Count: 611
Out of the Dust By Karen Hesse Out of the Dust takes place in Oklahoma during the dust bowl of 1934-1935 Billie Joe a long-legged redheaded girl always dreamed of seeking her fortune playing fierce piano where grass grew leaving the stirring dust behind Billie Joe turns fifteen during the story she finds herself motherless after her father Bayard leaves a pail of kerosene on the stove it catches fire Billie throws it out the door catching her pregnant mother on fire and badly burning her hands She is filled with guilt and blame but it truly was an accident later on her mother died giving birth to her stillborn son Franklin When the two were buried it was turning point for Billie Joe and her father Her life was wrecked never to be what it had been viewing herself as a cripple Her and her father grow more distant she tries filling her mothers role but finds it impossible Her scarred hands hurt cooking and cleaning she cant bare to look at the piano her mothers piano They eat dust-covered food the wheat crops are destroyed and Bayard a stubborn farmer hopes for rain When she cant take it anymore she runs away with the dimes saved for her to study music and a few biscuits while on the train to Arizona she becomes lonely realizing she might have left Oklahoma and her sick father escaping the dust but she couldnt escape herself The dust made her strong it was part of her at least her and her father had each other she knew she had to go home At the train station her dad was there to pick her up and she called him Daddy for the first time since Ma died She explained to him that Oklahoma was inside her and that she needed a father For the first time since Ma died he actually listened and understood As they walked
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