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Campus Book Discussion (2018): Hillbilly Elegy


Vance continues to reminisce about how he was helped along the way.  He wonders about his newly found success and concludes “I am one lucky son of a bitch" (253).  He shares a story about a young teenager from his neighborhood, Brian, who reminds him of himself, a product of foster care, because of his mother’s death. He wonders what will happen to him and places the responsibility for Brian with his community.  Again, he insists that cases like Brian’s is not the government’s responsibility.   He ends by describing a recurring dream that he had, or rather, a nightmare.  In this dream,  he is trapped in a  tree house.  Inside the tree house is a conference room.   He is alone in the room with his sister, Lindsay and his Mamaw when his mother breaks into the room.  His sister and grandmother escape right as his mother grabs him.  Then he awakens.   In the last iteration of the dream, it is he who poses the threat and his dog is the victim.  But rather than catching him and beating him, he looks upon him with compassion and hugs him.  He awakens to the relief of knowing that it was just a dream and that he has escaped the nightmare that was his past.  

Food for Thought

Is the American Dream possible for everyone?

If the American Dream is possible, what makes it so?  Luck, hard work, a combination of both?  Something else? 

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