The Worst Hard Time

The Worst Hard Time

by

Timothy Egan

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George Alexander Ehrlich Character Analysis

A Russian-German immigrant to Oklahoma. He immigrated to the United States in 1890 to escape conscription into the czar’s army. During his voyage, his ship got caught in a typhoon and nearly sank. He arrived in New York Harbor two months after leaving Hamburg, Germany, on New Year’s Day, 1891. After arriving in the United States from his homeland near the Volga River, he moved to Kansas to stay with relatives. He then migrated to Oklahoma and found work as a ranch hand. He married a fellow German from the Volga region, Hanna Weis, and had ten children, the youngest of whom died after being hit by a cattle truck.

George Alexander Ehrlich Quotes in The Worst Hard Time

The The Worst Hard Time quotes below are all either spoken by George Alexander Ehrlich or refer to George Alexander Ehrlich . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the First Mariner edition of The Worst Hard Time published in 2006.
Chapter 4 Quotes

In the German settlements on the High Plains, there was no more defiant celebration of group survival than a wedding. The rest of the year, the Anglos could make fun of their clothes, the sheriff could call them in for questioning, the merchants could refuse them entry into stores, the children could mock their accents, the farmers could laugh at their planting methods, and other immigrants could deride them as “Rooshians.” But the wedding day on this Sunday in September 1929 belonged to the Germans from Russia. Through an improbable journey of 166 years, they had bounced from southern Germany to the Volga River region of Russia to the Cherokee Outlet of Oklahoma. The Russlanddeutschen were not Russian nor were they fully German. Hardened by long exile, state cruelty, and official ridicule, they wanted only to be left alone. The treeless expanse of the southern plains was one of the few places in the United States that looked like home.

Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
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George Alexander Ehrlich Character Timeline in The Worst Hard Time

The timeline below shows where the character George Alexander Ehrlich appears in The Worst Hard Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: High Plains Deutsch
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
In September 1929, George Alexander Ehrlich sat at a wedding table and told his grandchildren the story of what... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
George’s story was the founding narrative of the Ehrlichs and how they got to Oklahoma. At... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
George Ehrlich turned eighteen during his trip across the Atlantic. He strapped his money to a... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
When George arrived in the High Plains, he initially stayed with relatives in LeHigh, Kansas and looked... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
George returned to Kansas to make peace with his family, then he took a train back... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
George Ehrlich’s first job was as a ranch hand. To learn English, he carried a notebook... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
Around midnight, the police went to the jail in Arnett, Oklahoma, where Ehrlich and the others were being held and took them to Woodward, a bigger town to... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
The City vs. the Country Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
The youngest of the Ehrlich children, nicknamed Georgie, was doted upon for his boundless energy. One summer evening, on August... (full context)
Chapter 16: Black Sunday
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...They wanted to enjoy the sun and clear air. After four years of drought, the Ehrlichs were out of grain and George Ehrlich was too overwhelmed by grief to keep the... (full context)