Strangers in Their Own Land

Strangers in Their Own Land

by

Arlie Russell Hochschild

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Bob Hardey Character Analysis

The mayor of Westlake, Louisiana when his city receives a $21 billion investment by South African petrochemical company Sasol. Hardey is ecstatic about Sasol’s investment and even claims to have helped his son move when Sasol bought the land he was building a house on. He felt he had no special talents until he became successful at the petrochemical company Phillips 66 and resents people who he believes gain disproportionate opportunities because of affirmative action. As mayor, he continues to mow lawns around town.
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Bob Hardey Character Timeline in Strangers in Their Own Land

The timeline below shows where the character Bob Hardey appears in Strangers in Their Own Land. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6 – Industry: “The Buckle in America’s Energy Belt”
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Hochschild sits in the office of Westlake, Louisiana mayor Bob Hardey, who shows her the video of a ceremony marking the beginning of the “single largest... (full context)
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
...from immense steel-girded fortresses” that is often inundated with the smell of chemicals—in his speech, Hardey says it “smells like rice and gravy.” Hochschild is meeting Hardey to begin “exploring the... (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Hardey drives Hochschild around town, showing her the restaurants, churches, shops, and schools that sustain everyday... (full context)
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
Hardey envisions a 25-30% growth in population—but many of the new residents will be temporary construction... (full context)
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
...who instead defunded public services and paid oil companies to invest in Louisiana. Hochschild asks Hardey about his politics, and he says he has “had enough of poor me.” He criticizes... (full context)
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
Hardey explains that he himself had difficulties in school but “discovered [he] could do things” while... (full context)
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
Hochschild starts to think that Bob Hardey, one very powerful person with the “least resistant personality” type that chemical companies seek out,... (full context)