While Tara's relationship with her parents deteriorates gradually, the point of no return comes when she confronts them about Shawn's abuse behavior. Discuss the way that, up until this point, Tara and her parents have colluded with Shawn's abuse. Why does Tara decide that she can no longer do so? Why do you think Gene and Faye are so determined to cover up for Shawn?

Expert Answers

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

For Tara's parents, it's easier to live in ignorance and to pretend that their son isn't abusive. For Tara, however, the fear of someone else being hurt—or forcing her sister to stand alone when she talks to their parents—is enough to make her decide that she has to admit what...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

For Tara's parents, it's easier to live in ignorance and to pretend that their son isn't abusive. For Tara, however, the fear of someone else being hurt—or forcing her sister to stand alone when she talks to their parents—is enough to make her decide that she has to admit what happened.

When Audrey writes to Tara and asks for her support when she talks to their parents about Shawn, Tara agrees. It isn't easy for her; she worries that she'd find out they'd known all along. Her mother promises that they'll support her, but ultimately, they don't. They choose to live in a fantasy world where their son isn't bad. In their minds, they don't have to take action against them.

Tara's father refuses to admit that his son is a bad person. He refuses to admit the damage Shawn did to his sisters. Instead, he forces confrontations and difficult questionings to make Tara back down on her claims. For example, when she confronts her father about Shawn's abuse, he calls Shawn and has him come over so they can all talk. Shawn threatens Tara with a knife and she backs down. She says that their father must have misheard her.

For her parents, denying the truth of Shawn's abusive actions is a way to keep their family together and bury their heads in the sand. It also allows Gene to retain control over his family. He wants to continue living in the way that his beliefs demand. For Tara, speaking the truth about abuse is a way forward. It's a way for her to heal—even though it means losing contact with parts of her family in the long run.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team