Basically, about six themes were deliberated in this text. Hillbilly Elegy an autobiography talked about upward mobility, religion, politics, education, economics, and hillbilly identity (a term he used to describe their way of life in his small hometown in Kentucky) The writer basically reflects on politics and economy for two major reasons, the first is to inspect what could solve these difficulties as he believes what the hillbilly community faced was more of a social problem in comparison to the governmental problem. The other reason is to predict what led to poverty. He insisted that policy reform is not going to increase the life of the residents.
His grandparents moved to Ohio to find economic stability, but in the long run, they faced economic decline. The only large company left was the steel manufacturing business. The government had been encouraging the residents to be homeowners and they instilled policies, and because of this they found themselves in debt. Vance also stated societal problems cannot be solved by official policies. He gave an example of a story from when he was a child, where men were associated with strength and women were associated with education. These can be used to drive additional changes in welfare policy.
From reading this book, I got a feel of what upward mobility looks like and it was also the most enlightening. He believed and portrayed upward mobility as always possible and he did not say it would not be complicated. The resources that would make upward mobility attainable or reachable are not always available to a working-class kid living amidst poverty. Vance demonstrates that with determination, upward mobility is possible with the few resources available.
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Vance in his book shows that people living with poverty must keenly go after every opportunity that arises. He briefly discussed laziness and he was always against it. He told the story about when he was about to get into Yale Law school, he needed money and he took a physically exhausting job while on the job, a nineteen-year-old boy came looking for a job to help support his pregnant girlfriend. The boy and his girlfriend took the job for granted, the girl got fired first and then the boy got fired too and when that happened he felt he didn’t deserve to be fired. The story was told to describe how people don’t take responsibility for their own success and they feel the world owes them and with this attitude (not owning your mistake) it is impossible to achieve upward mobility.
I resonated with the hillbilly identity, even though poverty was like a family tradition, they had their culture, example is in chapter one where Vance parents told him they respect the dead as well as few stories that were told of the community’s values and loyalty the part I did not quite agree with is that he strongly believed that these hillbilly identity and culture of loyalty and integrity are a part reason as to why the residents in the community are in poverty and would always remain dependent. My view on the possibility of upward mobility has been highly reinforced after reading this book. And I would recommend this book to everyone including upcoming generations.
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Vertical Mobility, Religion, Politics, Education, Economy and Identity Of The Highlanders. (2023, Feb 16). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/vertical-mobility-religion-politics-education-economy-and-identity-of-the-highlanders/
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