The Definition Of Family In Hillbilly Elegy By Bev Vance

The definition of family says, “a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling or not” (dictionary.com). Although according to J.D. Vance his definition of family is totally opposite, Vance never had the typical family and that is what his book Hillbilly Elegy is all about. In the book Vance’s mother, Bev Vance, isn’t really around. She is addicted to drugs and doesn’t really keep up with the mother role, so Mamaw overtakes the mother role and Papaw takes the father role. Vance’s book argues that no matter what your family may do they are still your family, you will always be apart of that family even when you aren’t with them, and you can’t and will never abandon your family. Within …show more content…
On the car ride to the mall Vance said something that ignited her temper and she started speeding the car up and kept saying she was going to crash the car, when she pulled over to beat Vance he took off and Bev found him hiding inside a lady’s house. In chapter 6 Vance states, “Eventually Mom broke down the woman’s door and dragged me out as I screamed and clutched for anything-the screen door, the guardrails on the steps, the grass on the ground” (77). This quote shows how abusive his mother is to Vance and yet at the court trial when the judge asked him if his mother has ever threatened him ever before and he said no so his mother would get out of jail. No matter what she does to him physically he still counts her as family and will not abandon her. Another example is found in chapter 15 and it is where Vance buys a hotel room for his mom because she was out on the streets because she stole some of her husband’s family heirlooms to buy drugs. Vance states, “I’d sworn to myself that …show more content…
Vance lived and visited many different places within the book: Middletown, Kentucky, Connecticut for Yale, Ohio State, and the Marine Corps base. All of these places had an important impact on how Vance came to be the man he is today. Middletown and Kentucky had a big impact on Vance because that is where he stationed his roots, all of his family including Mamaw and Papaw originated from one of those two areas. The Marine Corps taught Vance how to grow up into an adult and become more responsible of himself and others; while at base he would receive letters from his family, mostly Mamaw. While Vance reads one of the letters his Mamaw sent he says, “Most of all, Mamaw wanted to know how I was doing and to reassure… I read everyday that Mamaw was proud of me, that she loved me, and that she knew I wouldn’t give up” (159). Mamaw kept Vance going even when he wanted to give up, this proves his definition of family because he was at his Marine Corps base and Mamaw still kept him updated and talked to him like they were together. All of the letters that his family members sent to him made him feel like he never left their side. Another example that proves the definition of family is again where Vance went to the Marine Corps base and he got paid around one thousand dollars a month after taxes from the Marines, he learned that his Mamaw couldn’t afford her health care. After learning her struggles Vance

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