Let us remember that the move to Welch that Jeannette makes with her family back to her father's homeland represents an even harsher time of deprivation and want compared to anything Jeannette experienced before. Rex had always struggled with his money, but this seems to be even more acute at Welch, where Jeannette and her siblings are nearly always sent to school without any lunch. As a result, they are forced to try and look for food that other students had discarded in trashcans at their school. In addition, there is no money to repair the dilapidated home where they live, and there is certainly no extra money to pay for heating during the cold winter.
However, although things did seem to change for the worse in Welch, there is one positive difference, and that is that Jeannette's parents begin to insist that their children attend school rather than just being left to amuse themselves. At least Jeannette and her siblings therefore receive an education and continue to develop their academic skills, in spite of the want that they face. This compares favourably to their lives in Battle Mountain and Phoenix, where they did not attend school.