Analysis Of Hillbilly Culture

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The idea of “hillbilly culture” as presented in Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance is a complex concept that can be interpreted in many different ways. This is a culture that is familiar to millions of Americans that call the Rust Belt home. Many people from Appalachia take pride in their intrinsic “hillbilly culture” while others want to distance themselves as much as possible from the term “hillbilly” and many times from the region that coincides with this nickname. From Vance’s reflection about growing up in Middletown, Ohio, one can see that the term “hillbilly culture” refers to many of the best and the worst characteristics of life in a small, blue collar town. These towns created a type of social…show more content…
Vance describes a bond between family members that is nearly unbreakable. These values are instilled in children from a young age. In Vance’s case, his grandparents taught him the most about family loyalty. “Mamaw”, as he called her, scorned him on multiple accounts for actions that reflected a lack of loyalty to his family. From as young as Vance could remember, if someone made a rude remark about one of his family members that offense was punishable by physical action. “Mamaw”, and many other people that prescribe to the idea of “hillbilly culture” saw no greater sin than disloyalty, especially disloyalty to one’s own people. “There is nothing lower than the poor stealing from the poor”, she said as she cursed members of her community that did not observe the “honor code” which she had been raised to exhibit. Additionally, many of the positive attributes of “hillbilly culture” seem to stem from the religious background within most Appalachian communities. Particularly within the older generation during Vance’s childhood, people used their background in Christianity to help them model their children into upstanding citizens. Although life was, at times, very difficult for his Vance’s grandparents, they were able to struggle much more successfully than the generations that followed them. Unfortunately, Vance lived to witness the ideals that the “hillbilly” way of life was founded on beginning to erode around
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