By chapter 22 of Educated, Westover writes that her life was often “narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.” What is the significance of this realization?

In Educated, Tara Westover's finding her own voice represents the ability to finally see past the overwhelming influence of the rest of the Westover family. This is what allows her to hone in on her own needs and motivations for the first time and to build a life for herself outside their influence. In what ways can readers relate?

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In Educated, Tara's realization that she has a voice of her own signifies her mental and emotional emancipation from her family.

Throughout much of the narrative, she's told by her parents and the rest of the Westover family exactly what her life should look like. Gene and Faye tell...

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In Educated, Tara's realization that she has a voice of her own signifies her mental and emotional emancipation from her family.

Throughout much of the narrative, she's told by her parents and the rest of the Westover family exactly what her life should look like. Gene and Faye tell her how she's allowed to live, what she should want, what she shouldn't want, and what she should believe. Through his abuse, Shawn tells her something even more insidious—that her safety is less important than his ability to feel powerful. By siding with her brother when she confronts them, her family affirms this assertion.

For the early part of her life, Tara accepts these voices to be the absolute truth, regardless of her interior conflict. This perspective limits her considerably—even as she starts to explore the world outside Buck's Peak, she's unsure she deserves access to it. She feels like an impostor in the halls of academia, wondering with every setback if her parents were right.

As she gradually assimilates and begins to realize the scope of the world outside Buck's Peak, she makes space for new voices. Eventually, she even makes room for her own. It's only by cutting through her past—her family's voices—and allowing herself to recognize her own needs and motivations that she's able to become herself as she is today: a bestselling writer, with a voice amplified much farther than she could've imagined.

To answer your final question, you'll have to do some reflecting—it sounds like your teacher would like to hear about whether you can relate to Tara's journey to find her own voice against a backdrop of other people's opinions. Can you think of anything you believe that differs from what your family or community believes? How did you come to realize this difference? How, if at all, have you expressed that difference, and how has it been received?

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