This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Educated" by Tara Westover. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.
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Are you looking for discussion questions for Tara Westover’s Educated? How can these questions help you better relate to Westover’s story?
Educated is the autobiographical story of Tara Westover’s journey from being the child of extreme anti-government, anti-science, and religious fundamentalist Mormon parents to becoming a Cambridge- and Harvard-educated Ph.D.
Keep reading for Educated discussion questions.
Educated Discussion Questions
Educated: A Memoir is Tara Westover’s autobiography. In it, she shows us her transformation from being the daughter of survivalist, fundamentalist, anti-science, anti-medicine, and anti-education parents, to becoming a Cambridge-educated historian. Westover gains the strength to break free from the ideological chains of her youth and discovers the agency to make her own choices about how she sees and experiences the world.
While it is about one individual’s journey, Educated speaks to universal themes of self-liberation, the power of education, the perils of extreme ideology, and the trauma of domestic abuse.
Here are some Educated discussion questions to help spark conversation.
Discussion 1: Breaking Down Your Background
Explore what made your upbringing unique.
- In a few sentences, describe something you were taught to believe growing up.
- How did this belief differ from that of someone you met later in life?
- What are some examples of beliefs that might prevent a victim of abuse from speaking out about their experience?
Discussion 2: Making New Starts
Work through how you can achieve closure with the past.
- Describe a person, place, or experience that you decided to remove from your life. Explain the situation in a few sentences.
- Describe a time when someone refused to believe you about something you’d experienced. How did it make you feel?
- Going forward, how can you avoid bringing toxic and destructive people into your life?
Discussion 3: Reflecting on Educated
Think through the major themes and lessons from Educated.
- Tara talks a lot about freeing herself from intellectual and emotional slavery. Why do you think education was so important in freeing her from this bondage?
- How do you think families perpetuate the cycle of abuse?
- As you reflect on Tara’s experiences, how did your own education shape your outlook and make you the person that you are today?
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Here's what you'll find in our full Educated summary :
- How Tara Westover was abused by her brother as a child
- Why Tara's parents set up the children for failure
- How Tara ultimately broke out of her parents' grasp and succeeded for herself