Hillbilly Elegy Short Essay - Answer Key

J.D. Vance
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1. How does Vance define the term "hillbilly" in his Prologue?

Hillbilly is a term that Vance defines as those living in the Appalachian region, which stretches from Pennsylvania to Alabama, along the Appalachian Mountain Range in North America. Hillbillies are largely of Scots-Irish descent, working class, and uneducated.

2. What are the primary reasons for the cultural decay in Appalachia that Vance describes in the Prologue?

Vance discusses the economic decay of the Appalachian region as one that has multiple causes. Among these are drug addiction, social isolation, and a dissembling of family values, church attendance, and lack of work ethic and ambition.

3. Where does Vance describe his "home" as being in Chapter 1?

Vance grew up in Middletown, Ohio, but he considers his "home" to be the home of his great-grandparents in Jackson, Kentucky. Jackson is a town of about 6,000 residents in the Appalachian mountains in Eastern Kentucky.

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