Hillbilly Elegy


J. D. Vance

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Matt Character Analysis

One of Bev’s boyfriends, who she dated when J.D. was thirteen. Matt was a firefighter and a genuinely kind person. J.D. refers to him as his “favorite of all of [Bev’s] men,” and notes that he still keeps in touch with him. Unfortunately, Bev abruptly left Matt when she decided to marry Ken, a man she’d just met.
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Matt Character Timeline in Hillbilly Elegy

The timeline below shows where the character Matt appears in Hillbilly Elegy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
The Hillbilly Identity Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Personal Agency Theme Icon
Not long after Vance turned thirteen and Bev started dating a firefighter named Matt—with whom Vance still keeps in touch—Papaw died. The family found him slumped in a chair... (full context)
The Hillbilly Identity Theme Icon
...Mamaw’s porch to see Bev standing in a towel in her front yard and berating Matt, calling him a “fucking loser nobody” before turning to Lindsay and saying, “You’re a selfish... (full context)
Chapter 8
Upward Mobility and Personal Agency Theme Icon
...until Bev decided she and J.D. would be moving to Dayton, Ohio to live in Matt’s house. Dayton is 45 minutes from Middletown, a fact that distressed Vance because it meant... (full context)
Upward Mobility and Personal Agency Theme Icon
...long as he could keep going to Middletown’s high school. Around this time, Bev and Matt’s relationship took a turn for the worse; “Living with [them] was like having a front-row... (full context)