Out of the Dust Study Questions. Be prepared to discuss these questions in class on Monday March 17, 2003
1. "Wonder why Daddy’ll get his boy this time?" (5). This statement ends the first chapter. Describe the elements of foreshadowing here.
2. Litotes implies understatement. Give two examples of this trope and explain why this form works in this book.
3. "When I’m with Arley’s boys we forget teh dust" (50). Discuss briefly why this is true and what the implications of this fact.
4. Explore the historical occurances that are alluded to in this novel. The New Deal (26), WWI (44), the Dionne Quintuplets (57), the depression, economic dependence on wheat, population growth, prohibition, polio (115), Lindberghs (145), CCC (181).
5. The effect of the chapter "Nightmare": What is the reality? the dream?
6. Pattern of apple blossoms and apple trees as examples of hope. How are these parallel to aspects of the story.
7. "The women talked as they scrubbed death from the house" (74). Explain how this metaphoric construct works.
8. Her burned hands, and hands in general are multistable images throughout the story. Discuss.
9. Look closely at the titles of the chapters and what is being discussed in that chapter. How are the two related? Discuss at least one specifically.
10. Explore some of the following terms and their changing meanings throughout the book: enough, empty spaces, poetry, music, emptiness, hunger, hands, and dust.