In this chapter, Vance talks about his continued family struggles and how they impacted his performance and attitude towards school. Growing up, Vance loved learning and school, but conflicts at home caused him to eventually "hate" it. His struggles began when his biological father, Don Bowman, gives him up for adoption when he is six to his stepfather, Bob Hamel. Despite his mother’s drug addiction, she remained committed to education. She returned to a local community college and obtained her associate’s in nursing. Like her other relationships, this one is also short-lived. Even though Bev (Vance's mom) and Bob were able to live comfortably, the Hillbilly lifestyle Bev continues to perpetuate results in violence and money mismanagement. Conflict in the home not only affects Vance’s academic performance but his health, as he begins to overeat to deal with the stress. Later in the chapter, Vance’s mom tries to kill herself by ramming her car into a telephone pole after a huge fight with Bob. Later, she tries the same stunt again with Vance, then only eleven, in the car with her. By hiring a high-powered lawyer, Vance’s grandparents are able to save their daughter from jail time and Vance is able to get a reprieve from his mom by spending time with his Uncle Jimmy from California who sends for him. Despite his hardships, Vance has family members such as Mamaw whose desire was for her kids to "obtain white-collar work, and marry well-groomed middle-class folks . . . ."(62). Mamaw, his sister Lindsay, and his uncle Jimmy help to insulate him from the blows of his mother's repeated bad decisions. It is not money, but his mother's impoverished mindset that gravely affect him.
Problems at home made school challenging for Vance. What other factors may make receiving an education hard?
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