Billie Jo - "Out of the Dust": A book written by Karen Hesse.

Essay by qtpiecheyJunior High, 8th grade March 2007

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The main character in Karen Hesse’s story “Out of the dust” is Billie Jo wholives in a dusty town. She has great piano playing talents from her mom. BillieJo is a girl who gets accused of killing her mother. One day, dad was boilingkerosene on the stove. Pregnant, mom started making coffee (with the boilingwater) for dad. The cup caught on fire. So mom ran out the front door insearch for dad. Billie Jo tried to help so she threw the pail out the door andthe kerosene hit her mom. Billie Jo pushed her mom down on the floor andstarted to pat out the fire. Billie Jo’s hands were burning.

Dad called Billie Jo for some water since mom was thirsty. Billie Jobrought a pail of kerosene, thinking it was water, mom drank it. She gave birthto a baby of flames. Dad left to a city called Guymon and used the emergencymoney, that should have been used for mom, to buy drinks like liquor.

Dad’s sister came to take the baby boy and raise it up. But she was too late, on her way to Billie Joe’s house; the baby died and so did the mom.

Dad’s sister blamed it on Billie Jo. Billie Jo had a great deal to forgive: hermom, dad, aunt, and herself. Well her mom for leaving her when she neededher most.

Her dad for causing the death of her mom. Her aunt for accusing herof killing her mom. Herself for being the cause of her own sorrows. Billie Jodesperately wanted everyone to understand what really happened. And forthem to believe her.

Now that mom was dead, she had nobody to ask for help onanything. Her dad was so depressed that he could not do anything. Eventuallythe connection between Billie Jo and her father was lost. Billie Jo was hurtmentally and physically. The only way to get through it was to be independent.

She decided to leave; even if it meant to tear up all the roots of her life shewould do it. And she did. One night when her dad was asleep she left. She tookabout five biscuits. Two days later after finding loneliness instead of happiness,her dad was at the train station waiting for her. They talked as they walkedhome.

Billie Jo explained how she had been feeling. Dad understood andworked harder to be there for Billie Jo.

An old friend of dads, Louise, came to dinner at Billie Jo’s house.

Billie Jo liked Louise, and Louise liked her, too. At first she was scared thatmaybe Louise would take mom’s place. But after a while she saw how muchLouise could help her and her dad. She also saw how much dad liked her and soBillie Jo didn’t mind whether or not Louise comes into dad and her life. Shemade them happy. Although the baby boy and mom died they’ve had to moveon and be independent together.