Out of the Dust
Author, Karen Hesse’s use of free verse is very effective in Out of the Dust. Free
verse is poetry that does not have a regular beat, rhyme, or line length.
What makes reading free verse different from reading prose or straight narrative?
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Read the entire section “Winter 1934”, pages 3-33.
Answer the following question:
Why would Hesse use “free verse” rather than traditional prose in her writing of this historical novel? (this is definitely a “deep thought” type of question…so just go for it!)
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Study the “arrangement” of the words on p. 13 “When I point my fingers at
the keys,/the music/springs straight out of me./Right hand/playing notes sharp as/tongues…Hesse has arranged the free verse in a clever poetic form. This clever arrangement of words suggests the importance of something in Billie Jo’s life. What is the “clever” form used, what is the important element in Billie Jo’s life, AND why might it be important to her?
Using the Chart Below, place an “X” in the appropriate column where correct factual information is present:
1934 Beginning: August 1920 x p.4 Home/Farm Rabbit Battles x x p.6 Losing Livie x p.8 Schoolhouse
Me and Mad Dog Schoolhouse Permission to Play Home/Farm Extended Severe Drought/High Temps/Winds On Stage Palace Theatre Birthday for F.D.R. Episodic Dust Storms and Wind Erosion
Not Too Much to Ask x p.16 Home/Farm
Crop failure/loss and livestock harm/loss Mr. Hardly's Money Handling x x p.18 Hardly’s Store Fifty Miles South of Home Migration out of region Rules of Dining Breaking Drought Poor Farming Techniques/Over Plowing
Dirt Affecting Daily Living/Businesses Debts Foul as Maggoty Stew Disease/Health Affected by Dust State Tests Collapse of rural economy affecting farming Fields of Flashing Light families and businesses