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Educated: A Memoir Quotes

25 of the best book quotes from Educated: A Memoir
  1. #1
    “No comma, no period, no adjective or adverb was beneath his interest. He made no distinction between grammar and content, between form and substance. A poorly written sentence was a poorly conceived idea, and in his view the grammatical logic was as much in need of correction. “Tell me,” he would say, “why have you placed this comma here? What relationship between these phrases are you hoping to establish?”
  2. #2
    “The thing about having a mental breakdown is that no matter how obvious it is that you’re having one, it is somehow not obvious to you. I’m fine, you think. So what if I watched TV for twenty-four straight hours yesterday. I’m not falling apart. I’m just lazy. Why it’s better to think yourself lazy than think yourself in distress, I’m not sure. But it was better. More than better: it was vital.”
  3. #3
    “Curiosity is a luxury reserved for the financially secure...”
  4. #4
    “Tyler stood to go. “There’s a world out there, Tara,” he said. “And it will look a lot different once Dad is no longer whispering his view of it in your ear.”
  5. #5
    “Everything I had worked for, all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege: to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind. I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create. If I yielded now, I would lose more than an argument. I would lose custody of my own mind. This was the price I was being asked to pay, I understood that now. What my father wanted to cast from me wasn’t a demon: it was me.”
  6. #6
    “I believed then--and part of me will always believe--that my father’s words ought to be my own.”
  7. #7
    “Never again would I allow myself to be made a foot soldier in a conflict I did not understand.”
  8. #8
    “I could tolerate any form of cruelty better than kindness. Praise was a poison to me; I choked on it.”
  1. #9
    “I shed my guilt when I accepted my decision on its own terms, without endlessly prosecuting old grievances, without weighing his sins against mine. Without thinking of my father at all. I learned to accept my decision for my own sake, because of me, not because of him. Because I needed it, not because he deserved it.”
  2. #10
    “All I had to do was swap my memories for theirs, and I could have my family.”
  3. #11
    “He said positive liberty is self-mastery—the rule of the self, by the self. To have positive liberty, he explained, is to take control of one’s own mind; to be liberated from irrational fears and beliefs, from addictions, superstitions and all other forms of self-coercion.”
  4. #12
    “Choices, numberless as grains of sand, had layered and compressed, coalescing into sediment, then into rock, until all was set in stone.”
  5. #13
    “There was a pause, then more words appeared—words I hadn’t known I needed to hear, but once I saw them, I realized I’d been searching my whole life for them. *You were my child. I should have protected you.*
    I lived a lifetime in the moment I read those lines, a life that was not the one I had actually lived. I became a different person, who remembered a different childhood. I didn’t understand the magic of those words then, and I don’t understand it now. I know only this: that when my mother told me she had not been the mother to me that she wished she’d been, she became that mother for the first time.”
  6. #14
    “I carried the books to my room and read through the night. I loved the fiery pages of Mary Wollstonecraft, but there was a single line written by John Stuart Mill that, when I read it, moved the world: “It is a subject on which nothing final can be known.” The subject Mill had in mind was the nature of women. Mill claimed that women have been coaxed, cajoled, shoved and squashed into a series of feminine contortions for so many centuries, that it is now quite impossible to define their natural abilities or aspirations.”
  7. #15
    “There’s a sense of sovereignty that comes from life on a mountain...”
  8. #16
    “This is a magical place,” I said. “Everything shines here.” “You must stop yourself from thinking like that,” Dr. Kerry said, his voice raised. “You are not fool’s gold, shining only under a particular light. Whomever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that is who you always were. It was always in you. Not in Cambridge. In you. You are gold. And returning to BYU, or even to that mountain you came from, will not change who you are. It may change how others see you, it may even change how you see yourself—even gold appears dull in some lighting—but that is the illusion. And it always was.”
  1. #17
    “Whomever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that is who you always were.”
  2. #18
    “I began to experience the most powerful advantage of money: the ability to think of things besides money.”
  3. #19
    “It has never occurred to you,” he said, “that you might have as much right to be here as anyone.”
  4. #20
    “For all my obsessing over the consequences of that night, I had misunderstood the vital truth: that its not affecting me, that was its effect.”
  5. #21
    “I had decided to study not history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I’d felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement--since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected--a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality. I thought if I could accept that what they had written was not absolute but was the result of a biased process of conversation and revision, maybe I could reconcile myself with the fact that the history most people agreed upon was not the history I had been taught.”
  6. #22
    “I had discerned the ways in which we had been sculpted by a tradition given to us by others, a tradition of which we were either willfully or accidentally ignorant. I had begun to understand that we had lent our voices to a discourse whose sole purpose was to dehumanize and brutalize others—because nurturing that discourse was easier, because retaining power always feels like the way forward.”
  7. #23
    “Guilt is the fear of one’s own wretchedness. It has nothing to do with other people.”
  8. #24
    “I am not the child my father raised, but he is the father who raised her.”
  9. #25
    “The skill I was learning was a crucial one, the patience to read things I could not yet understand.”
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