Comparative Analysis of Between the World and Me and Hillbilly Elegy

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In this analysis between two books, hillbilly elegy by JD Vance and Between the world and me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. These two books are similar, but there is a lot of comparison between one and other.

Hillbilly elegy is a book that talk a lot about different types of cultures and how they affected the writer trough his life. the book tells a story of dysfunctional families; substance abuse; the material, spiritual, and moral decline of Appalachia; and the struggles to achieve true economic and social mobility in the United States. He knows a lot of cultures because of the way his childhood was. He was born in Ohio with a family of Kentucky hillbillies, his childhood was really hard because of her mother and how he treated them or the way that she was married with a lot of men’s, sometimes knowing them only for a week. He was basically raised and saved by his grandparents. Mamaw and Papaw. Who told him that he could achieve anything if he worked hard enough and propose to himself as a goal. And always helped him with school and anything he needed , even after when he was older his grandmother helped him with social safety, security, and stability, even though she became a widow she still helped Vance. He learned more with his than with his parents. His grandparents always supported him and told him that he could do great things, that’s why Vance recall at the end of the book that his grandparents were the best thing that ever happened to him. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

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He learned a lot when he went to college, first because he was one of the few in his family that went to college, and he thanks all to his grandparents, he figured out that it was hard the upward mobility with his background as a hillbilly or that’s what he thought. Over the course of the book, Vance challenges and affirms a fatalistic view of life, both for himself as an adolescent, and for greater Appalachian society. He perceives that Appalachians have come to view their situation as an inevitable conclusion, one that they cannot change and, too often, bear no responsibility for. He went to Ohio State University in Columbus, and changed a lot in there because there is where he started to put himself goals and taking a lot of jobds while studying, he finish his career in 1 year 11 moths and went to Yale law school to get hs degree, there is where he met his wife and it was a long way because he didn’t trust in anyone because of the past he had and he blamed everything on his childhood or him being a hillbilly, but his wife made him open his eyes, because she told him that he was never going to succeed in life or move on if he keep blaming his past and his family or where was he born. He was pretty smart at start but then he figured out that everything she said was true, and instead of feeling ashamed of being a hillbilly he took it as proud. Hillbilly Elegy is first and foremost a memoir, but it also examines the Appalachian working class at large, often incorporating sociological studies to supplement Vance’s life story and proposing possible new ways of thinking about poverty. When they asked JD Vance “how did being a hillbilly affected on his misfortunes he explained that “Economic insecurity, he’s convinced, accounts for only a small part of his community’s problems; the much larger issue is hillbilly culture itself. Though proud of it in many ways, he’s also convinced that it “increasingly encourages social decay instead of counteracting it.”. The description of the culture he grew up in is essential reading for this moment in history.

The second book called Between the world and me that talks about a father that want to warn his kid, the way black people life is, and explain him why he should be ready. Coates was born in Baltimore in the 1980’s when it was really dangerous, and he tells that he had to learn how to lived and it was pretty difficult for him. He started his journey in Howard University where his dad was a librarian he find himself attached to the books and to be a writer. He starts talking about how he saw a lot of people he knew killed and how it was so different to black people than to white people. For him, to be black in a white supremacist society is to live in constant fear of disembodiment. Even if your body is not stolen from you, the fear of losing your body steals your energy, your time, and your freedom. His experience in college was a different one, he met his wife there and he became a writer, he had always loved to write since he was little, but there was still some doors that couldn’t be open because he was black. he also grew up in a black community that was really dangerous and alert of the white people and their intentions because he felt like they thought they were superior. When we talk about being alert, Coates is writing in the context of the recent racist murders of Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, John Crawford, and Mike Brown. These murders demonstrate the fact that the destruction of black people’s bodies is part of the fabric of American society, and is a key component of the American Dream. Everything changed for Coates when he had his first son Samori, because then is when he realized that he didn’t want his son to go through all the horrible things he went through, so he start preparing his son for the future, and he says to his son that “errors cost more to us”, referring that because they are African American everything was going to be hard in life. Then we moved up on his work and went to Paris where he learned that life was not the way he thought that black people and white people understand and coexist, and he liked it there. The book does not end on optimism. He demonstrates that the haunting legacy can never truly disappear, mentioning his old fear. On the other hand, Coates does provide words of encouragement and support to Samori, and also encourages the reader. Because I think that this book was for his son and to teach him or warned him about life, but also, for us to understand it.

In conclusion, both of the childhoods were similar because, they both had some horrible things going on, for Vance was his mother and for Coates was the death of people he knew. They both went to college to find his career and they both find a wife. The communities were different because one was a redneck but the other one was black, it was not white but they were not similar. They both started blaming everything on them or where they came from, until they figured out that they should be proud of it, or at least understand it. One think that it was more about politics his upward mobility, but the other one knew that it was because of the color of his skin. Vance hope for his future for people to understand why it was hard for him the upward mobility. Coates wants his son and every other black kid to understand how is life or how was life for him. For Vance the American Dream was for him to let all the cultures be treated the same way, and for Coates was for Black people to have the same opportunities as white people. At the end of each book they both understand that it was not all like they thought it was going to be, and that blaming their past wasn’t going to help them. That is why they wrote this books to let people understand them and for people to know more inside about the cultures in America, Vance and Coates have a lot of similaties and differences but, they both wanted the reader to understand what they went though to become who they are.

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Comparative Analysis of Between the World and Me and Hillbilly Elegy. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/comparative-analysis-of-between-the-world-and-me-and-hillbilly-elegy/
“Comparative Analysis of Between the World and Me and Hillbilly Elegy.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/comparative-analysis-of-between-the-world-and-me-and-hillbilly-elegy/
Comparative Analysis of Between the World and Me and Hillbilly Elegy. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/comparative-analysis-of-between-the-world-and-me-and-hillbilly-elegy/> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
Comparative Analysis of Between the World and Me and Hillbilly Elegy [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 18 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/comparative-analysis-of-between-the-world-and-me-and-hillbilly-elegy/
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