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Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

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Robert Moss


English 96

8 May 2018

Hillbilly Elegy Essay

J.D. Vance in his novel Hillbilly Elegy, describes how American society negatively impacts American youth through the education they receive, the isolation, and the United States state of economic

In the beginning of the book the narrative talks about the lack of education and your own family life can have a major impact your future. He says “I have, to put it mildly, a complex relationship with my parents, one of who has struggled with addiction for nearly my entire life. My grandparents, neither of whom graduated from high school, raised me, few members of even my extended family college”. What I take from this quote that what you growing up seeing and witnessing can lead and determine your future because we don’t like being uncomfortable, or unfamiliar places so if we meaning your family generation is used to struggling and living check to check and doing the bare minimum just to get by and is satisfied with that. This is a problem because when a kid is looking to his parents, which is what normally happens then everything they do and say seems right, so when the parent is living and do things that is not okay and living life barely getting through then the kid looks at their life likes it the best that can happen. The kids most of the time follows in the parents footsteps. With that being said as the kid get older and are living their life with their own family, they normally have traits like the parents, so if the parents raised the kids by allowing things like not finishing school because they dropped out and so forth then when the kids are parents they tend to allow the same things to be okay that their parents let be okay. Later on in the passage the narrative says, “The statistics tell you that kids like me face a grim future that if they’re luck unlucky, they’ll manage to avoid welfare; and if they’re unlucky they’ll die of heroin overdose, as happened to dozens in my small hometown last year”. From personal experience I see this kind of stuff all the time that generations and generations of the same cycle going on because I’m living proof of it. In my family my parents did not graduate high school, well that I know of, and it been the same cycle in my family for past generations now. Now that we talked about the lack of education I will next I will be talking about how being isolated can hold you back.

        Now I will discuss the issues of being isolated in society. The narrative says “We do not like outsiders or people who are different from us […] we’re more socially isolated than ever, and we pass that isolation down to our children.” He’s right because if people aren’t similar to your personality or similar to the things you like or do, then we tend not to associate with people who different from the norm. While that’s the case for American youths see that and that tend to follow in those footsteps. So if we hang out with the same people we tend to have the same ideas and same goals so we think in the box, we think what’s comfortable to us. Later on the passage the narrative says “Many of my new friends blame racism for this perception of the president”. They said this and the president at the time was Barrack Obama why didn’t they say that about, George W. Bush or any other Presidents, it’s weird that they’re blaming the president at that time and his an African American.  Now that we talked about being isolated in society next I will talk about economics, and there less African American getting jobs than there are white Americans and how it is affecting households.



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