full title Educated
author Tara Westover
type of work Memoir
time and place written England and America; 2016-2018
date of first publication 2018
publisher Penguin Random House
narrator Tara Westover narrates the memoir retrospectively, looking back at events from her childhood and young adulthood.
point of view The text is presented as a memoir, narrated by Tara in the first-person, and presenting events according to what she has seen and heard. The memoir is presented in a subjective way, since Tara gives readers access to her inner thoughts and motivations. Tara also acknowledges that she is presenting events and conversations according to what she remembers, and that those memories might be unreliable. At times, she describes an event from her point of view, and then also includes the same event according to what a different character remembers.
tone Regretful; ambivalent; defiant; triumphant
tense Most of the memoir is told in the past tense, since Tara is looking back at events from her earlier life. She occasionally uses the present tense to reflect on the feelings and ideas that surface as she writes her memoir.
setting (time) 1996—2014
setting (place) Idaho, Utah, England
protagonist Tara Westover
major conflict Tara struggles to break free from her controlling and violent family who want her to live a life of isolation and obedience.
rising action Tara becomes increasingly curious about the wider world, and eventually goes to college and graduate school, where she realizes she wants to think for herself and make her own decisions.
climax Tara refuses to let her father give her a traditional Mormon blessing, showing that she will no longer adhere to the religion or follow his authority, and that she is always going to value her own free will more than her relationship with her family.
falling action Tara makes several efforts to continue to have a relationship with her family, but gradually realizes that her parents and most of her siblings will not have a relationship with her unless she becomes more submissive and reconciles with her father.
themes The power of knowledge; the instability of memory; conflict between identities
motifs Injuries; Tara's visits home; the mountain
symbols Penicillin; Caravaggio's; Judith Beheading Holofernes; the bloody knife
foreshadowing Luke's burns foreshadow the burns Tara's father will suffer; Emily's refusal to listen to warnings that Shawn is abusive foreshadow the refusal of Tara's parents to believe their son is abusive; Faye's estrangement from her family foreshadows Tara's estrangement