The Worst Hard Time

The Worst Hard Time

by

Timothy Egan

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The Folkers Family Character Analysis

A family that set up a homestead in No Man’s Land. The family patriarch, Fred Folker, was determined to plant an orchard, but it failed in 1934. His wife, Katherine Folker, was college-educated and originally from Missouri. During the Great Depression, she wanted to leave No Man’s Land and return to her home state, despite things not being any better there. Fred and Katherine had one daughter named Faye, who was Hazel Lucas’s brightest student. They also had a son named Gordon.
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The Folkers Family Character Timeline in The Worst Hard Time

The timeline below shows where the character The Folkers Family appears in The Worst Hard Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: No Man's Land
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
The Folkers family were Will Crawford’s closest neighbors. They also arrived by a free train with very... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
Fred Folkers started his wheat farm with the help of a horse-drawn plow, and then he bought... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
The City vs. the Country Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...bookstore, a bank, a newspaper, a creamery, a few cafes, and a telephone office. The Folkers bought appliances, dresses for Katherine and Faye, more land, and “a big-shouldered house to replace... (full context)
Chapter 5: Last of the Great Plowup
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Economic Hardship and Lessons of the Great Depression Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
A few miles from the Lucas farm, the Folkers family was doing well. Fred Folkers had bought a tractor, a new car, a new... (full context)
Chapter 7: A Darkening
Economic Hardship and Lessons of the Great Depression Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
In No Man’s Land, the Folkers family included their wheat in every meal. Fred Folkers became depressed and started drinking jars... (full context)
Economic Hardship and Lessons of the Great Depression Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
The spring of 1932 was too dry to plant anything. The Folkers family’s land started peeling away. Still, Fred Folkers tried to keep his orchard alive. Though... (full context)
Economic Hardship and Lessons of the Great Depression Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Fred Folkers had a stomachache and drank corn whisky to treat it. Fred went to a new... (full context)
Economic Hardship and Lessons of the Great Depression Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
The Folkers’ neighbor, Will Crawford, met his wife, Sadie, after finding her note in the front pocket... (full context)
Chapter 8: In a Dry Land
Economic Hardship and Lessons of the Great Depression Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...crops, but they dried up. There was nothing but tumbleweed to feed the livestock. Fred Folkers told his neighbors that, if one ground and salted the weed, the animals would eat... (full context)
Chapter 10: Big Blows
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...weather had killed what little wheat people had managed to plant in the fall. Fred Folkers spent most of his day shoveling dust, and knew that he would lose his orchard.... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Long Darkness
Economic Hardship and Lessons of the Great Depression Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
Fred Folkers eventually lost his orchard, and “the life-draining drought” killed the trees that Caroline Henderson had... (full context)
Chapter 16: Black Sunday
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...in Boise City that morning. More than two hundred people were in the church. Faye Folkers, Hazel Shaw’s brightest student, was there. The funeral procession started in the direction of Texhoma.... (full context)
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...the rabbit drive in the northeast of town when the dust storm hit. At the Folkers’ homestead, Katherine and her son crouched down, unable to light their lantern. Black dust showered... (full context)
Epilogue
The City vs. the Country Theme Icon
Boise City barely survives with three thousand people. The Folkers family still owns its homestead. Hazel Shaw had another child, Jean Beth. Charles died in... (full context)