Hillbilly Elegy Themes

J.D. Vance
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The juxtaposition of changing physical location without changing life situation

Vance juxtaposes physical movement with situational constancy to demonstrate to the permanence of hillbilly culture. Typically in literature, a move between two locations is used as a device to signify deeper change in a character or plot. In his memoir however, Vance generally rejects this idea and argues that the major elements of hillbilly society persist regardless of their location. This is immediately clear in his description of the migration of hillbilly families from rural areas like Jackson, KY to industrial urban centers like Middletown, OH following WWII. This was a major economic shift for these families, but their culture remained largely constant. Vance states that many families, and even entire communities, uprooted collectively at the encouragement of companies like Armco. This ensured that the hillbilly values of rural areas travelled with them to urban ones. The author demonstrates...

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This section contains 1,784 words
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Buy the Hillbilly Elegy Study Guide
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