RQ: hooks, Preface and “Kentucky Is My Fate”

Featured Image: Blue Ridge Mountains


Keep the following questions in mind as you read bell hooks, Preface and “Kentucky Is My Fate.” The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.


Let’s start thinking about hook’s opening question:

“Can we embrace an ethos of sustainability that is not solely about the appropriate care of the world’s resources, but is also about the creation of meaning—the making of lives that we feel are worth living?” (1)

How does the “Shadowy history of slavery” find expression in the world of real estate (3)?

How/why will hooks engage with Wendell Barry’s work?

How will hooks look to the past and her past, but without idealizing the history/her past. In other words, how does she plan to avoid the problem of nostalgia when writing about place and family?

Chapter 2, “Kentucky Is My Fate”

How/why does the opening line of the chapter echo Thoreau? What does hooks do differently?

Why open a story about living in a place, and to a lesser extent the past, with the vision of her own death? How does the image of “scattering my remains as though they are seeds and not ash”(6), figure the future and also avoid the pitfalls of nostalgia?

What lines divide hooks’ childhood? How does the house she lived in with her family in the Kentucky hills illustrate the spatial and temporal differences of her childhood?

How is Nature (or the Nature hooks experienced as a child) the “foundation of our counter hegemonic black subculture” (8)?

What accounts for her experience where “white and black folks often lived in a racially integrated environment, with boundaries determined more by chosen territory than race” (7)?

How was racial difference enforced when she once hooks moved from the country to the city?

Why did hooks leave Kentucky and what was her experience of place when she was an undergraduate at Stanford?

How/why were hooks and her community separated from nature? Why/how did this separation produce fear of nature in her?

What are the two “competing cultures in Kentucky” (10)?

How does hooks define the term, “A Culture of Belonging” (13)?

How did hooks’ “experience of exile” while in CA for college, “transform [her] perception of the world of home” (13)? What takes her so long to go home to Kentucky?