Student Question

Why is Westover not knowing the word "Holocaust" in her first college class significant, as depicted in part 2 of "Educated"?

Quick answer:

Tara Westover was born in Idaho. She was raised by a survivalist father and a mother who believed in his teachings. Tara didn't attend school or have access to any literature aside from the Bible, yet she knew how to read. When her father fell into a coma for three weeks, Westover decided that she needed an education and began taking college classes at night. After graduating from BYU, she applied to and was accepted by Cambridge University where her journey really begins.

Expert Answers

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Educated is a memoir that was written by Tara Westover. The story covers the struggles she went through to get her college degree after growing up in a survivalist Mormon family. Westover starts her journey in the isolated Idaho mountains and ultimately gets into a competitive Ph.D. program at one of the top schools in the world—Cambridge University. Beyond her academic struggles, Westover also has to contend with adjusting to "normal" society after growing up the radical world her father created for her.

In Westover's first college class, there's a moment that's significant. She realizes that she doesn't know what the word "Holocaust" means. This is significant to Westover because it shows just how far she has to go on her journey to rejoin modern society. It's also a poetic moment. Westover grew up with a survivalist father who preached that the family needed to prepare themselves for the annihilation of mankind. Yet, Westover's father had never taught her about the Holocaust—one of the biggest genocidal events in the planet's history.

So, in conclusion, this moment is important for two reasons. First, it shows Westover how far she has to go on her journey. Second, it emphasizes that she wasn't even taught about things that would have been relevant to the survivalist lifestyle she used to live.

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