Study Guide

Out of the Dust Chapter 20

By Karen Hesse

Chapter 20

Beat Wheat

  • County Agent Dewey tells the family that because of the drought and dust storms, there won't be enough seed to plant wheat in the fall. Seeking refuge in her music, Billie Jo plays piano; Ma makes a lot of noise in the kitchen, presumably out of frustration, and finally sends her to the store.
  • On the way, Billie Jo sees Joe De La Flor, a rancher, and his bony, thin cattle. She thinks of how everyone's livelihood is "drying up and blowing away."