Educated tries to answer two questions: What is an education, and what is its value? How does Westover answer this question?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Tara Westover shows the reader that self-actualization and identity development are both distinguished from and tightly intertwined with formal education. In her view, both are equally necessary; but she also respects that many people grow into healthy adults having received little or no formal education. In her particular case, the desire for formal education became stronger because her parents prevented her from receiving it while she was growing up.

Until she left for college in Utah, she had not fully realized how idiosyncratic her upbringing had been. A combination of personal motivation, intellectual gifts, and support and encouragement from teachers and peers helped her to succeed in college and continue to graduate school. She also developed further insight into how she evaluated success and failure, which required her to grow as a generous, forgiving person. The temptation to blame her parents or anyone else for their shortcomings, however strong, was of limited value for reaching her goals.

Westover learned to develop her own concepts of the meaning and value of family, in part because the unique way she lived had become a part of her education. She further decided that pursuing knowledge for its own sake would not satisfy many of her longings and saw that her writing—including this memoir—could be valuable for others struggling to understand what education meant to them.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team