Educated

Summary

Chapters 37-40

Summary Chapters 37-40

When Tara's grandmother dies, she wants to go to Idaho to attend the funeral, but doesn't know where she will stay. She reaches out to her mother's sister Angie and stays with her. At the funeral, Tara watches her siblings gather. Tara, Tyler, and Richard now all have doctorates, and are living independent lives, but her other four siblings and their spouses work for her parents. They are also homeschooling their children.

Summary: Chapter 40

Tara concludes her memoir with an update on her situation. At the time she finishes writing, she has not seen her parents in years. She keeps in contact with Tyler, Richard, and Tony. She has achieved some measure of peace with her relationship with her family, but does not know if she will ever be in contact with her father again. This journey to independence has cost her greatly, but it has also changed her forever.

Analysis: Chapters 37-40

After suffering so many betrayals, Tara finally receives steadfast loyalty from Tyler. Tyler has always been a strong supporter of Tara. He has also known since Tara was young that Shawn was violent toward her, since this is part of the reason Tyler first encouraged Tara to move away and go to school. Significantly, Tyler is more independent and objective than the other family members who betrayed Tara's trust when she confided in them. Like Tara, Tyler is educated, employed, and has built a new family for himself. For all of these reasons, he can stand up to his family without living in fear of losing everything. Tyler's willingness to openly state his support for Tara makes her feel less alone and abandoned, which helps her to heal. Nonetheless, Tyler does not sever contact with his family, even after he knows what Tara has gone through.

Tara channels her desire for family, love, and support into building a new relationship with her extended family. In the end, even with the new life she has built for herself, Tara still needs a connection to her past and her roots. She has never been close with her mother's family because she was raised to believe they were critical of her father. Now, after everything she has been through, Tara is also critical of her family, and can see why her grandmother and aunts felt the way they did. By building a new relationship with them, Tara shows her resilience and ability to compromise. She may never be able to have a relationship with her immediate family, but she has the freedom and resourcefulness to make choices and seek out love and support wherever she can find it.

When she began her journey toward going to college, Tara could not have imagined how her life would unfold, or the magnitude of the choices she would make. Looking back and connecting the events of her life into a story, she can see how all her actions had interconnected consequences. In some ways, it might have been easier to live in ignorance and blind trust, because she would not have had to think for herself or take responsibility for her choices. Once she became educated, she also became morally responsible for living according to her values, and being the kind of woman she can respect. Her education may have given her more questions than answers, but it has also given her the possibility to choose.