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.
- What does this book bring to the national conversation about poverty in America? What did you learn about the roots and persistence of poverty?
- Is there a culture of cruelty surrounding poverty? Why are the poor often referred to as worthless, leaches, and lazy (or otherwise demonized)?
- What are the positive aspects of Appalachian culture?
- Discuss the author’s resentment towards his neighbors who were receiving welfare but owned cellphones.
- 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?
- How has the opioid addiction epidemic affected the lives and communities of Appalachian culture?
- 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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Hillbilly Elegy discussion questions are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.