Educated - A Memoir Tara Westover Overview

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Literature

Document 1

Educated (Westover, 2018) touches on several themes, including abuse, familial ties, religion, its sway on people's perspectives, and leaving a cult mentality behind. It's a story that explores how a woman can empower herself in a very patriarchal setting and overcome nearly impossible odds to succeed. But what is Tara Westover's story really about? Is it an exploration of a woman's triumph over a family determined to stand in her way? Or is it a look at how ideology can be misinterpreted and used against those too young to know better? Educated by Tara Westover - Summary Educated opens with our introduction to the author, born in a devout Mormon family, separated from the trappings of civilization. Tara's father, Gene, was a survivalist, convinced that the end of the world was nigh (according to the Book of Mormon), and spent all of his life preparing for it.

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Tara's mother, Faye, was injured in a car accident and suffered severe brain damage as a result. Within this setting, she realized that the world is much different from the one she got used to growing up. She noticed the word "holocaust" in a classroom and realized she had never heard it before. She asked the lecturer about it, and the rest of her classmates looked at her in disgust. On further research, she realized the horrific situation described by the term and was confronted by her ignorance of the topic. It showed her how little she knew about the wider world. Slowly, she opened her mind to the world around her and took giant steps towards her independence, like getting vaccinated and looking into feminism.

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Tara's life isn't easy, as her older brother, Shawn, stepped up his abuse, even calling her to tell her that he’d send "assassins" to Cambridge to kill her. Her family supported her brother in this endeavor, leaving Tara feeling lost and alone. After these occurrences, she accepted a fellowship at Harvard but was in no mental state to enjoy the accomplishment. At Harvard, Tara's family tried to "reconvert" her to their religion. The synopsis of Educated doesn't do the story justice because there are so many details that the book has that can't simply be described in a short overview. This Educated a Memoir summary does help us appreciate the impossible odds that Tara went through to get to where she is today.

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From the grasp of an intolerant religion to the abuse and gaslighting by her own family, she persevered. Without a traditional background in education, she went into academia, armed only with her thirst for knowledge and her desire to leave the life she knew behind. From her childhood, this autobiographical look at Mormon parents and the impact their religion has on their children is stark and worrying. As a book and as a memoir, Educated carries powerful messages that take the time to read it. It shows how someone can change their circumstances through hard work. While some may argue that it's not strictly the realization of the American dream, it does have elements of this thematic conclusion. Tara's happiness starts tied to her family and their approval.

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