What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia Themes

Elizabeth Catte
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Wealth Inequality

The essence of Catte’s argument is that the main contributor to the social problems in Appalachia is wealth inequality. Contrary to Vance’s assertion in Hillbilly Elegy that Appalachians themselves are genetically predisposed to certain behaviors that keep them impoverished, Catte argues that the region’s history demonstrates a long trend of economic exploitation. The region that spans Appalachia – which, as Catte reminds us, covers thirteen states in the eastern U.S – is rich with natural resources, such as coal, metals such as zinc and copper, and lumber; yet, for the most part, Appalachians are not the ones benefitting from these natural resources. Catte explains how the expansion of the railway system post-Civil War made rich industrialists move into Appalachia and acquire land cheaply – often by finagling it out of local landowners – all under the guise of American progress, the idea of which was being propagated...

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This section contains 1,487 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia Study Guide
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