Educated - A Memoir
Tara Westover


Sharon Fleming

Chapter 2

Westover provides the story about a midwife who had come to their home to pick some herbs from her mother, who was to be her assistant. Some of the herbs included calendula, witch hazel, and lobelia. The midwife visited them at another time with her nine-year-old daughter, Maria whom she used as a model to show Westover’s mother strategies that she could use to administer post-birth contractions. Westover goes on to explain that her mother “…didn’t want to be a midwife” (Westover 13). The entire midwifery concept had been her father’s idea. As a good wife, the mother was only doing what would be expected of her by her husband. Her father was keen to ensure that his family attains self-reliance.


In the chapter, it is evident that the family has no choice but to follow the guidance provided by the father, even in situations where the family members may not be in full agreement. For instance, Westover’s father forces her mother to be an assistant midwife (Westover 17). The quest for self-reliance by Westover’s father seems to bear some level of discomfort upon his family. It also shows the controlling nature that the father had upon their own lives.

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