In exploring the ways that Appalachian people speak and write, Amanda E. Hayes raises the importance of knowing and respecting communication styles within a marginalized culture. Diving deep into the region’s historical roots—especially those of the Scotch-Irish and their influence on her own Appalachian Ohio—Hayes reveals a rhetoric with its own unique logic, utility, and poetry.
Hayes also considers the headwinds against Appalachian rhetoric, notably ideologies about poverty and the biases of the school system. She connects these to challenges that Appalachian students face in the classroom and pinpoints pedagogical and structural approaches for change.
Throughout, Hayes blends conventional scholarship with autobiography, storytelling, and language, illustrating Appalachian rhetoric’s validity as a means of creating and sharing knowledge.