Blog Posts on bell hooks, “Kentucky Is My Fate”

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34 thoughts on “Blog Posts on bell hooks, “Kentucky Is My Fate”

  1. In Kentucky is My Fate it talks a lot about racial issues and white supremacy which can be a touchy subject for some. However, something that I thought was rather funny and connected to on a person level was when the author talks about her experiences at Stanford and telling people where she was from. The passage says, “Usually, when asked where I heralded from, naming Kentucky as my home state would be greeted with laughter. Or with the question ‘Kentucky- where is that.'” I connected to this simply because I was born and raised in Iowa. Whenever I tell people from other states that I am from Iowa I was get some sort of response that is close to that of what the author said. But normally it is some joke about being raised in a corn field or something close that nature.

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  2. In the article Kentucky is my Fate, Bell hooks really expresses the importance of making a connection with nature. She explains how rooting yourself at one place in the world always you to become whole. When you leave this place, your native home, you become confused. This idea agrees with Sanders idea of Staying Put, a person should root themselves in one area, because they will become grounded which allows you to be more grounded as a person. She talks about how by having a connection with nature we have a sense of belonging, a place of solace, and a place where we will someday feel at rest. It is necessary for a person to have a geographical place to call home. This ties together the idea of making nature your home and rooting yourself in his home which therefore allows you to grow as an individual. For Bell Hooks this place was in the hills of Kentucky. She takes the ideas of home and nature and applies them to her personal life by telling her story of Kentucky. The story of Kentucky includes attributes of racism and white supremacy, what she felt when she moved away, and she explains why Kentucky has become her holy ground.

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  3. In “Kentucky is my Fate”, Bell Hooks explains how important it is to make connections with nature. She calls nature a “place for refuge” and a “place for healing wounds.” I completely agree with this, being in nature has always been a place for me to escape and just to think. Going out to Colorado is one of my favorite things to do, and just being in the mountains completely silent listening just to reflect on your thoughts is something amazing. Nature also has so many different ways of healing yourself, literally. Aloe, for example helps reduce the pain and redness from sunburn. There are so many more different plants that reduce irritations, and also helps the immune system. Hooks explains that while she stayed in the state of Kentucky, she moved from being in the hills to a more urban environment. She called it a devastating loss because she just wanted to be free and to be alone. Even though the people who lived in the hills had exponentially less than the folks in the city, that did not matter to them. They did with what they had, they found power in that. They created their own rules, went their own routes and just lived off their own values and experiences. Nobody telling them what to do, and they were empowered. She, like Sanders explains how nature is such an important part to staying put in one place, and the power it has on an individual.

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  4. Ib Bell Hooks’ article “Kentucky is my fate”, she talks about how vital it is to feel at home with nature. She says that nature is a place for refuge and healing. This is quite relatable for me because, even though I grew up in an urban city, I still managed to go outside a lot {even in the blistery Chicago winters} and play. My family was very fond of taking trips to the woods, when I was a little child. I think people just have a connection to nature that is undeniable and inescapable. I have relatives in Singapore who tell me that they get sick of it so easily because there is no escape or refuge into the woods. In America there is a culture of going out into nature. Americans go: camping, hiking, visit the beach and hunt. These are all ways of connecting to nature.
    Hooks talks about how rooting yourself to a home is vital to find peace and this is very true for immigrant families like mine. My parents are from a little third-world village where the modern world ignores. They still like going back there and, to this day, I have not figured it out. I guess this is just their refuge. Overall I do truly believe that a persons original home {usually from childhood} is where their heart is.

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    • 5 points. Living in an urban environment can certainly make it more challenging to connect to nature, but in reality, as Sanders says, nature is everywhere. We need to learn how to make that connection no matter where we are.

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  5. In bell hooks, “Kentucky is My Fate,” she talks about how strong her connection the earth is and how separation from Kentucky affected her. Hooks mentions that when she moved to California, she could tell the actual ground beneath her was much different than the ground of Kentucky. She also tells the story of how when she told people she was from Kentucky, they gave her strange looks and asked where Kentucky is. I actually could relate to this. I graduated from a high school in Virginia, where most of the people were going to Virginia colleges. When I told people I was going to the University of Iowa, they gave me strange looks and asked why. After telling them my reason, it cleared some of the confusion up, but I know some people still did not quite understand. I also have a similar problem when people ask me where I’m from. Because my dad is in the Army, we moved all the time so I don’t exactly have a hometown. Having to explain this to people is also troublesome and I know, once again, people do not completely understand what I mean.

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    • 5 points. When places are remote from each other (such as Virginia and Iowa), the cultural gaps and understanding can be great. It doesn’t necessarily take a great distance, either. When we were going to move to Iowa from Madison, Wisconsin, folks there gave us puzzled looks, too.

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  6. Like Bell Hooks, I have left home to a place that is a lot different from home. The culture, the climate, the language. It is uncomfortable to get to a place where some people haven’t heard of and sometimes don’t even know what language you speak. But one can easily get over it, since it is not a big deal. And what Bell Hooks says on the last paragraph of her essay, that when she goes back to Kentucky she feels a sense of belonging that she never felt anywhere else, experiencing unbroken ties to the land, to home folk, to our vernacular speech.” I can sympathize with it, because even though I have lived in the U.S. for approximately 1.5 years, and having that happening in the midwest, where people are comforting and everything, there is nowhere else that I can feel as welcome as I feel at home in Brazil.

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  7. In bell hooks, Kentucky is my Fate, she talks of how you need to become one with nature. Where ever you live you need to grow deep with the house and make it a home. You need to appreciate the land, the trees, and your home. By doing this you will get more out of your home and you will also have a way to judge other places in the world. If you have a home that you put years of your life into, then you will be able to appreciate other place for what they have or don’t have. Just because you love your original home it doesn’t mean you can’t love another place that you call home.

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  8. I’d have to say the bell hooks and I have sort of the same idea of home. Moving away from home for college has made me feel like I am disconnected from my home and my hometown. The way she felt that she needed to return to Kentucky in order to find her self really relates to me when I go home on the weekends. Although I don’t live far from home, I try not to go home too often and when I do go back, I definitely make the most of it! I spend time reconnecting with my parents, my little brother, my dog, and my farm. I try not to go home too often because if I did then going home wouldn’t even be a treat anymore; it would just be the normal. I definitely feel like bell hooks has the same type of feelings that I do when she reconnects to where she came from. She feels like she can rediscover herself and remember who she really is once she is home and I can relate to that feeling. College can be a very changing time for an easily influenced eighteen year old, so I believe it is important to go back home every once in a while to find those original roots again, much like bell hooks does.

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    • 5 points. As I said at the beginning of the semester, college students really have one of the most complicated relationships with “home” of anyone. If you’re just leaving home for the first time, you most likely still have that relationship while at the same time you’re establishing yourself in a new home at school. Then, of course, there’s also your thinking and planning for a future home once you graduate.

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  9. The first thing I noticed in the essay “Kentucky is My Fate” by bell hooks is her extreme connection and love for Kentucky. Despite the racism that existed during that time period, in Kentucky specifically, bell hooks finds a very strong relationship to the land of her childhood with nature. Hooks focuses a lot on how moving from Kentucky to California for academic purposes affected her greatly. She expresses her sense of belonging, which is in the hills in Kentucky. She says, “…Kentucky hills, a life where the demarcations of race, class, and gender did not matter – nature mattered.” My favorite part was when hooks talks about moving on from the hills to where the schools were. She says, “I experienced my first devastating loss, my first deep grief. I wanted to stay in the solitude of those hills. I longed for freedom.” I can personally relate to this because I would get a feeling of loss whenever I moved to a different city or country in the past. Hooks talks a lot about the hardship of her accepting change while she moved to California seeking education. She wanted to return to her native homeland, Kentucky, because that was the place she felt “there was a fierce reluctance to accept change.” Hooks continuously reminds us, readers, about her intense feelings leaving Kentucky when she says, “Leaving home evoked extreme feeling of abandonment and loss. It was like dying.” Hooks specifically mentions people’s reactions when she says that she’s from Kentucky. It shows how one place can mean so much to one person, but others might have stereotypes about the place or not even know where the place is.

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    • 5 points. Very thoughtful analysis and reactions to hooks. Moving during childhood is a double-edged sword. It is good to have new experiences, but the shifts in home can have even more profound effects on children than on adults…and adults often forget or don’t realize that.

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  10. I found Kentucky Is My Fate to be very interesting especially one line where Bell Hook’s says “I wanted to stay but I needed to leave, to be endlessly running away from home.” I feel like many people have this feeling where they want to just stay home and lay in bed all day but know that they have to go out in to the real world and do things. I personally felt this feeling when I came to the University of Iowa, where I wanted to stay home with my family but I knew that I needed to leave and actually explore more of the world. I think it’s just human nature to want to be where you feel the most safe (your home) but know that you need to go out and explore and do things if you ever want to better yourself. Bell Hook’s probably had very different reasons for needing to endlessly run away, most likely to get away from her dark history, but I think at the core she needed to endlessly run away to find herself and explore the world she lived in. If she had never left Kentucky there is little chance she would have become the influential women she is today. Vice versa, if she was never born in Kentucky and have the history that she did she probably would have not have become the person she is today.

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    • 5 points. The “staying put” or “returning” issue is always a complex one. I’m not sure that it’s absolutely necessary for someone to leave home in order to be successful. There are many examples where that wasn’t the case, and Sanders emphasizes how a deep life can be created in one place. A lot depends on the individual, no doubt, but I’m not sure it’s a one size fits all situation.

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  11. Taking a step to another unknwon world is always full of anxiety and scary. I also believe that feeling unwelcomed by those who were already there where you just moved is the most embarassed moment and the time when you start feeling loneliness. bell hooks also emphasizes her reading to talk about racism as well. She mentions that she was not taught to believe that Kentucky was not like deep south which she found it false after she moved to California where she felt unwelcomed. I found it very interesting and a sympathy in a line of the last paragraph “During my time away, I would return to Kentucky and feel again a sense of belonging that I never felt elsewhere, experiencing unbroken ties to the land, to homefolk, to our vernacular speech.” In my opinion, it is our destiny to reside or settle in a place where you feel the most sense of belonging among all the places. To me, although Iowa City is not the place where I am originally from but it gives me enough sense of belonging. Again, I really enjoyed this selection because I was able to find a greay sympathy in this story.

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    • 5 points. That sense of belonging is key to what home is all about…and it doesn’t necessarily always occur where you grew up, or you can sometimes have a stronger sense of belonging in a new place even though you still feel connected to your original home. I also feel that greater sense of belonging here in Iowa City than where I originally grew up.

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  12. While reading “Kentucky is my Fate”, I really got to understand the political and societal views that bell hooks has. She kept using the same phrase, or a slight variation of it, in referring to the “ imperialist white supremacist capitalist.” The arguments she makes aligns well with who she blames as the perpetrator for the demise of nature and our planet as a whole. I enjoyed how she included racial components of her argument and the shift of black families to urban areas and the decline of people caring for their environments. She talked about growing up and wanting to move away from Kentucky but when she finally left she felt out of place at Stanford. Although she complained about the Confederate flag she still idolized parts of the backwoods like the anarchic lifestyle that a lot of people lived. Although she complained about Kentucky being one of the last states to ever adopt any social change she still ended up feeling as though a part of her was left behind when she moved away from Kentucky. There were parts of her heritage that she couldn’t leave behind and they really became her. These included her vernacular/ speech and also her spiritual beliefs. I thought it was really interesting how she talked about being in college affecting how she perceived her family’s religious views yet still returned to them when back in Kentucky. Although she changed in some ways as a person, there was still the girl growing up in a church in Kentucky that remained a part of her.

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    • 5 points. Our relationship with home is always complicated, especially with our original home. No place is perfect, and sometimes the imperfections are quite profound, even dangerous. Yet they are still part of us, or at least the good parts of our original home will always remain with us.

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  13. More and more I find myself drawn to bell hooks’ works.
    The thing I find most fascinating about this one is that bell hooks actually gives the hillbillies of the “South” some credit. Despite their likely racist views, hooks views their way of thinking and way of life in a decently positive manner. One surprising thing to me was the consistent use of the word “anarchy” or “anarchism” in a way that indicates knowledge of actual anarchist theory and not just the usual usage of the word to just dismiss something as “chaos”. As an anarchist, it was a pleasant surprise to see the word used with a bit more dignity and scholarly weight. As for her views on home, I couldn’t relate much as Iowa City is very much like my home town of Moline, just with more drunk teenagers stumbling around (although I would admittedly feel culture shock in California as well). I don’t really feel much of a disconnect in terms of size or culture. Iowa City is a bit bigger than my hometown of Moline, but it’s almost uncanny how similar the two feel. I could definitely see myself making a home here someday.

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    • 5 points. I’m glad you appreciated hooks’ acknowledgment and embracing of “anarchy” in its true sense! I think she was suggesting, though, that the “white hillbillies” really weren’t racist…that everyone was equal in the hills. I’m a bit surprised that you find Moline and Iowa City so similar! Maybe there are other aspects of Iowa City you haven’t had the pleasure (or nightmare) of experiencing yet. If you’re interested in reading more hooks, “Kentucky Is My Fate” and “Touching the Earth” are from the same book, _belonging: a culture of place_, which you might like to read more in. She’s written a number of other books, too!

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  14. Bell Hooks passage, “Kentucky Is My Fate”, made me feel very connected to Hooks regarding to her homesickness at Stanford. That’s one of the most things that stood out for me, personally, that Hooks and I stand on similar views. Although, besides that what really stood out to me was when Hooks mentions that home is not only a place where you rooted yourself into, but, a place where you “could freely seek adventure.” When I first read this, I thought about the neighborhoods in Chicago. Neighborhoods are a huge thing in Chicago, and for so many of us they shape the person who we are today. I think living in Chicago I was able to “freely seek adventure” within neighborhoods because they all offered something different its citizens. For me, it was my high school education. I went to a public school in the neighborhood of Pilsen aka The Heart of Chicago, and it was 15-20 minutes away from my home. Within that neighborhood, I felt way closer to my culture whereas where my own neighborhood I didn’t really. Although there is definitely more things that neighborhoods have to offer besides education, and more in culture aspects, which I think is really cool. For example, there’s a neighborhood called Chinatown and they tried to make it look like China as much as they could, and it really brings so much attraction to a lot of tourist.

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    • 5 points. The neighborhood emphasis in urban areas is really important. That’s really the experience of most urban dwellers, which is often much closer to small town experience than a lot of people assume. People in Chicago really don’t live with 3 million other people–you live with and in your neighborhood. Sometimes people rarely if ever leave their urban neighborhood (or at least that used to be the case when all of life’s amenities could be found within a neighborhood–now, businesses and services tend to be scattered around, sometimes at great distances).

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  15. In Bell Hooks short reading, “Kentucky Is My Fate” Hooks talked about his home sickness when he was away at school. Personally last year as a Freshman here at Iowa I was home sick in the beginning of the year. The beginning of the yea has so many more things going on and happening on campus it is really hard to see how someone could be homesick but I was. I called my family on a daily basis to check in I had a hard time sleeping in my door. Even going out to socialize was a project because I just did not feel there at the moment. Second semester was a completely different story. I had made so many friends and I loved where I was at in my life. Classes were hard yes but I pushed through it. This year as a sophomore I still think this semester that home sickness is haunting me again. Again I am struggling with sleeping I do not always feel I am complete there when I am hanging out with my friends and I catch myself thinking about home more times than not. This reading thought made me realize that I am not alone and everyone get a little homesick ever a famous author.

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    • 5 points. Home is a powerful draw, no matter where you are. I tend not to think of “homesickness” as a negative thing. Most people do. You love your home–why is that bad? Sure, it can be difficult to manage the feelings when you’re away, but I think you should consider yourself fortunate you care so much for and feel so deeply your home. Those aren’t feelings to be dismissed, shunned, or made fun of (a lot of times, people see homesickness as a sign of immaturity–not true!). If you’re in college and are able to develop that balance of feeling good in both your college and original home, you’re in a great place! (Side note: be careful–bell hooks is female, not male.)

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  16. In the reading Kentucky is My Fate, it talks about what is home to the author which is Kentucky. It discusses how since it feels so much like home, they imagine spending their whole life living there and then also dying there. In a lot of the passages that we read during the class it is hard for me to make a solid connection right from the start. But as for this one as soon as I read the lines, “Usually, when asked where I heralded from, naming Kentucky as my home state would be greeted with laughter. Or with the question ‘Kentucky- where is that,” I immediately felt just like the person saying that. I am from a small town about a half an hour away from Dubuque, Iowa. Which is literally how I explain it, otherwise people asking where I am from have no idea where I am talking about. Unless, I ask if they have ever seen the long, loved movie Field of Dreams which takes place in my hometown. Either way, Dyersville, my hometown, is unknown to most people asking me where I am from.

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    • 5 points. The dumbfoundedness of people regarding where you’re from unless it’s a familiar big city can be quite common. Many years ago, we went on a trip to New Orleans, and my brother went with. He still lives in Rockford, Illinois, where we grew up. It’s not a tiny town–150,000 people–but when we were in New Orleans and people asked where he was from, he just said “Chicago” (which is 90 miles away from Rockford). (P.S. This posting actually missed the 8 a.m. deadline, but I’ll give full credit for it. Be sure to get your blog posts in on time. 🙂 )

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  17. Bell Hooks in “Kentucky is My Fate” has a very deep political and ethical perspective when talking about community. I believe this is true from her being apart of two minority cultures growing up in Kentucky. (a strong white supremacist area) One quote in Kentucky is my fate that caught my attention was this, “Digging in the California ground my hands touched earth, that was so different from the moist red and brown dirt of Kentucky I felt awe. Wonder permeated my senses as I pondered the fact that traveling thousands of miles away from my native place had actually changed the very ground under my feet.”
    This reminded me of my childhood when I would visit my grandparents house. I thought it was cool seeing all the little things that make up someones home in a area that wasn’t native to mine. Though it is hard to respect those aspects without stereotypes. Living in a certain area will definitely have a large effect on people. This does not mean that living in this area is what make up that person. It simply means that it shapes people in small ways. There are very good people that come from bad areas but at the same time there are many bad people who come from good areas.

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