Hissing Cousins Discussion Questions
Ordinary Grace by William Hunt Krueger

Hillbilly Elegy Discussion Questions

The following discussion questions for “Hillbilly Elegy” were compiled by our member Allison. Questions 2, 6, and 7 are written by Allison while the rest were adapted from LitLovers. We freely share our original discussion questions, but please consider including a credit and link to our website.

  1. What does this book bring to the national conversation about poverty in America? What did you learn about the roots and persistence of poverty?
  2. Is there a culture of cruelty surrounding poverty? Why are the poor often referred to as worthless, leaches, and lazy (or otherwise demonized)?
  3. What are the positive aspects of Appalachian culture?  
  4. Discuss the author’s resentment towards his neighbors who were receiving welfare but owned cellphones.  
  5. Vance refers to Appalachian culture as one that is “encouraging social decay” instead of counteracting it. Can you give an example to support his assertion?
  6. How has the opioid addiction epidemic affected the lives and communities of Appalachian culture?  
  7. The Rust Belt has suffered tremendous and pervasive economic hardship with the loss of manufacturing jobs. How can this area of the United States ever recover?  

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Creative Commons License

Hillbilly Elegy discussion questions are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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