Summary outline for “Keeping Close to Home” by bell hooks
Topic: Staying connected with family and community while pursuing higher education
Thesis: Bell hooks’ essay “Keeping Close to Home” argues that it is important to maintain one’s family and community ties as one pursues higher education, whether as a student or a teacher.
Major Details (main points in each section)
Section 1: Intro—Hooks describes her own painful departure for college 1st time; her parents were ambivalent about her leaving, and her intellectual ambitions made her departure painful.
Section 2: Bottom of 33 – top of 35
Main Idea: Class differences create invisible barriers that divide working class students from other collegians.
Section 3: Top of 35 – 1st paragraph on 36
Main Idea: By sharing resources and building strong community, black people have created their own values in opposition to those of the privileged; however, the media make the less privileged feel they should assimilate the values of the priveledged.
--telling of one’s personal story helps maintain community
Section 4: 36 – 38
Main Idea: If educated working class people want to be understood in their home communities, they must use a language, style and presentation that is appropriate to their home folks.
--If you don’t speak familiar language, there won’t be communication or growth.
Section 5: Bottom of 38 – top of 40
Main idea: Staying connected with one’s family and community means acknowledging the parts of the past that have enriched one’s life. Denying oneself of familiar speech patterns while adapting to the university leads to unfortunate separation from one’s past.
Section 6: 40 – top of 42 (ending with “as well as people who are not college educated.”)
Main idea: When the working class and poor learn about and value their pasts, they can stay connected with their families and communities even as they move toward a different future.
Section 7: 42
Main idea: Too often, oppressed people in higher education are seen as the “exception, ” as above the “average person” who doesn’t belong in the university.
Section 8: 42 – 44
Main idea: All working class and poor people should nurture the successes of those who choose education; similarly, educated working class and poor people must nurture and affirm their own family’s values.
Conclusion: Education ought to bring people closer to their homes and communities rather than separate them.