Study Guide

Out of the Dust Chapter 1

By Karen Hesse

Chapter 1

Beginning: August 1920

  • Fun fact: Part 1 is set during the winter of 1934. We just thought you should know before we get started.
  • Let's go back in time fourteen years to the day Billie Jo first entered humanity. In this first chapter, we get our first glimpse of the tough life she and her family have always led. She was born too fast for the doctor to get there and Ma gave birth to her crouching over the kitchen floor.
  • Daddy wanted a boy, but he tried to be satisfied with the girl he got instead, even giving her a boy's name and teaching her to do farm work.
  • On this particular morning, Billie Jo has learned Ma is pregnant. This is kind of a big deal, since she's always wanted another kid, but medical complications have gotten in the way. Billie Jo wonders if her father will finally get the son he's always wanted.