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Rough South, Rural SouthRegion and Class in Recent Southern Literature$
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Jean W. Cash and Keith Perry

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496802330

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496802330.001.0001

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date: 22 March 2018

Education Is Everything: Chris Offutt’s Eastern Kentucky

Education Is Everything: Chris Offutt’s Eastern Kentucky

(p.118) Education Is Everything: Chris Offutt’s Eastern Kentucky
Rough South, Rural South

Peter Farris

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses Chris Offutt's work, which reveals a theme paramount to all others: education is everything. In late 1965, when Offutt was just seven years old, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) descended upon his native Rowan County in eastern Kentucky and encountered a stark reality there: staggering illiteracy, soaring birth rates, desperately inadequate infrastructure, steady flight of the region's best and brightest, and a coal industry gone bust, leaving in its wake an undereducated work force and a population largely dependent on government relief. Decades later, this same third-world scenario would inform much of Offutt's writing. Mistrust of education persists in Offutt's work, including his only novel, The Good Brother (1997). Offutt also wrote a short story collection, Kentucky Straight (1992), and two memoirs, The Same River Twice: A Memoir (1993) and No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Home (2002).

Keywords:   education, Chris Offutt, Kentucky, The Good Brother, Kentucky Straight, memoirs, No Heroes

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