Hillbilly Elegy

Aunt Wee (Lori Vance) Character Analysis

J.D.’s aunt, and Bev’s younger sister. Aunt Wee dropped out of high school at the age of sixteen and quickly married an abusive husband who forbade her from visiting the rest of her family. With the help of Mamaw and Papaw, she escaped this situation, got a job working in radiology, and remarried a kind man. Throughout Hillbilly Elegy, Vance calls upon Aunt Wee’s memories and anecdotes to fill out his depiction of other family members and defining moments in his life. He also frequently uses Aunt Wee’s new life as a model for what it might look like to leave behind the downsides of hillbilly life and the cycles of abuse it sometimes perpetuates.

Aunt Wee (Lori Vance) Quotes in Hillbilly Elegy

The Hillbilly Elegy quotes below are all either spoken by Aunt Wee (Lori Vance) or refer to Aunt Wee (Lori Vance) . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Hillbilly Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Collins edition of Hillbilly Elegy published in 2017.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Within two generations, the transplanted hillbillies had largely caught up to the native population in terms of income and poverty level. Yet their financial success masked their cultural unease, and if my grandparents caught up economically, I wonder if they ever truly assimilated. They always had one foot in the new life and one foot in the old one. They slowly acquired a small number of friends but remained strongly rooted in their Kentucky homeland.

Related Characters: J.D. Vance (speaker), Mamaw, Papaw , Bev Vance, Aunt Wee (Lori Vance) , Uncle Jimmy
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

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Aunt Wee (Lori Vance) Character Timeline in Hillbilly Elegy

The timeline below shows where the character Aunt Wee (Lori Vance) appears in Hillbilly Elegy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Upward Mobility and Personal Agency Theme Icon
Politics and the Economy Theme Icon
...had two more children: Vance’s mother Bev and his Aunt Wee (her real name is Lori). Following several years of relative peace, Mamaw and Papaw started fighting frequently, usually spurred by... (full context)
Upward Mobility and Personal Agency Theme Icon
...although they themselves modeled domestic instability, they believed their economic achievements put Jimmy, Bev, and Lori in a position to surpass their own accomplishments. Fortunately, Lori found a way out of... (full context)
The Hillbilly Identity Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Personal Agency Theme Icon
Religion and Education Theme Icon
...chaotic and difficult life they had inflicted upon their children. First of all, they helped Lori escape her abusive first husband. They also lent Bev money to help her pay for... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Hillbilly Identity Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Personal Agency Theme Icon
Politics and the Economy Theme Icon
...to prepare for law school, to which he had already been accepted. He stayed with Aunt Wee —who had taken Mamaw’s place as the family matriarch—and worked at a tile factory. From... (full context)