Educated - A Memoir
Tara Westover


Sharon Fleming

Chapter 25

This chapter starts with a reflection on a story about Westover’s grandfather which she was told when she was still young. The story was about, “Grandpa-down-the-hill and how he got the dent above his right temple” (Westover 216). According to the story, Grandpa-down-the-hill was riding a horse when he was still young. The horse must have glimpsed something slithering in the weeds and, therefore, threw the grandfather off her back. From the fall, a disc caved into his forehead, forcing his brains out. The grandfather was put on bed rest to recuperate from the injury. Westover remembers her grandfather unconsciously saying that after being thrown off by the horse, he heard some voices, including that of grandfather Lott, the father of Grandma-down-the-hill, who had died ten years ago. Lott was telling him that he (grandpa-down-the-hill) was in trouble and needed to be assisted. This demonstrated to the grandfather how ancestors were helpful.


The chapter provides a clear indication of the effect that the belief that one person has is likely to have upon the entire generation. It is through such a belief that the person is likely to sow seeds that will mark the level of progress that his family will have over the years. This story of “Grandpa-down-the-hill” in this chapter, for instance, provides insights into why Westover’s father sincerely believed in religion and spiritual powers. The story, when told to future generations, can influence people to have a more rooted belief on the existence of spiritual forces to the extent that they can be affected in life, especially in the way they interact with other people (Westover 220). The interaction that the grandfather had with Lott and the one he had with Westover shows how information can be passed from generation to generation through relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren and the stories they share. In this regard, stories, such as the one Westover had with her grandfather, are likely to maintain beliefs about the existence of spiritual powers and events among generations to come.

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