Out Of The Dust Character Analysis

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In the novel Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, main character Billie Jo faces several challenging obstacles throughout her lifetime. Getting through these obstacles is the only way Billie Jo can learn to forgive her father as well as herself for their mistakes. Once she learns to stop feeling resentful, and let go, Billie Jo will be able to grow up. The first major challenge Billie Jo faces is when a fire breaks out in her home. The fire ignites when Billie Jo’s mother mistakes a pail of kerosene for water, where,“instead of making coffee, Ma [makes] a rope of fire”(87). Billie Jo’s own hands are scorched as she frantically tries to smother flames ablaze her mother’s skin. Following the accident, “while Ma moaned and begged for water, [Billie…show more content…
This helps her realize all of the caring and positive things her father has done for her, like attending night school to support the family, and risking his own life to find her during a dust storm. Billie Jo realizes that “[her] father stayed rooted, even with [her] tests and [her] temper, even with the double sorrow of his grief and [her] own, he had kept a home until [she] broke it” (269). Her encounter with this man changes Billie Jo’s perspective on her father, and causes her to head back home. When she arrives, “[her] father is waiting at the station and [she calls] him Daddy for the first time since Ma died” (273). As they walk home together, Billie Jo is “forgiving him step by step, for the pail of kerosene ... [and she is] forgiving [herself] for all the rest” (275). Though Billie Jo had a challenging relationship with her father, she learns to forgive him for his mistakes and love him for being there for her. Finally, Billie Jo begins to play piano once again, since she has moved past her grief and is fighting through the pain of her scarred hands. She overcomes the barriers that were preventing her from following her dreams of playing piano. Now that Billie Jo has let her grief and resentment go, she can focus on growing with up with her father, as she accepts her life the way it

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