Study Guide

Miss Freeland in Out of the Dust

By Karen Hesse

Miss Freeland

Miss Freeland is that teacher who always seems to be the voice of reason. Early in the book, when Mr. Noble and Mr. Romney are in the middle of their rabbit-killing feud, she explains how the drought has disrupted the rabbits' eating patterns (2.2). She also offers a detailed explanation of how the Dust Bowl's conditions came to be and why the town is suffering (46.1)—pretty much whenever there's a historical explanation needed for what's going on, it usually comes from her. In this way, she's a fount of information for both Billie Jo and us as readers. Go Miss Freeland.

Miss Freeland also has a very generous spirit, even to the point where she opens up her classroom to a homeless family. Rather than be freaked out when she finds them living there, she invites them to stay and even lets them be part of the class's lessons. She's highly involved in the lives of her students, facilitating activities like holiday meals and baking goodies with the contraband sugar from the still County Agent Dewey discovers. Obviously, she's one of those teachers who goes above and beyond, and is pretty passionate about what she does.

Speaking of caring about her students, Miss Freeland takes a greater-than-average interest in Billie Jo. After the accident, she seems to understand how drastic an impact the loss of her mother has on Billie Jo's life, and becomes extremely empathetic in response. She's the stand-in for Billie Jo's mom at the school Christmas dinner (55.1), and when Billie Jo sits at the piano at graduation unable to play, she actually sheds tears (89.2).

Oh yeah. She's also an opera singer. You know, in case being an awesomely inspiring teacher wasn't enough (22.1).