Educated responses - examples of good student writing

Here are some examples of interesting writing done by some of you on the memoir Educated. Your task was to take a psychological perspective on the events in the chapter "What We Whispered and What We Screamed" (ch. 22). This work was completed in February 2021.

These are just some of the examples of good writing I had pointed out in class. Work not copied here was harder to illustrate in a single paragraph, because my comments there were about the overall argument (Sofia, Poppy, Guillaume).

Good integration of short quotes (Ina):

After the event that occurred at the parking lot on page 194, Tara seemed to isolate the event entirely after she received apologies from Shane, which came to her surprise. She had written in her journal that it was a “misunderstanding” and that “If I’d asked him to stop, he would have”, in Shane’s defence, as if her denial would justify his actions as morally right. Meanwhile, only a day prior, she had written down a detailed account of what she remembered of the event, saying that she didn’t want to “hide behind hints and suggestions”. In her journal she had written about her recollection of the event as; “he was forcing me” and “it was like getting beaten by a zombie”. And her later on saying this event was a misunderstanding displays her feeling of powerlessness compared to her family, which she also elucidates on page 197 when she says in her opinion of the present day that “My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices are forceful, empathic, absolute.”

Good introduction and writing style (Luke):

Why is the Father supportive of Richard’s desire to go to college?

In chapter 22, What We Whispered and What We Screamed, Tara returns to Buck’s Peak to find Richard is studying for the ACT, and to her surprise her father is supporting him. This contradicts a defining characteristic of Gene Westover: relentless opposition to western institutions. This is why he pulled his kids out of school, why he does not take them to the hospital, why some of them do not have birth certificates, and this is why he has his family living this survivalist lifestyle preparing for the apocalypse or the day when the government comes for his family. He was not supportive of Tara wanting to go to school, he was paranoid of the communists and demons that run these systems and believed he had saved his children from being indoctrinated by Satan. Yet he is helping Richard prepare for the ACT. This contradicts what the reader understands about this character up to this point if we regard the ideology he has expressed in his lectures and his actions. However, if we pay attention to his motivations, qualities, and history and analyze him psychologically, we can make sense of his choice.

Strong argument in main body paragraph (Akanksha):

In this chapter, Shawn displays a clear act of displacement. This can be seen when he takes his anger on Richard and his father out on Tara. Shawn was obviously upset that his father was praising Richard for being a ‘genius’. This showed him that he was not unique, he was just another normal child. This angered Shawn. Instead of taking his anger out on his father, Shawn physically assaulted his sister in the parking lot of a store. It could be seen that he was not in the correct mind when Tara said, ‘It was like getting beaten by a zombie, I write, Like he couldn’t hear me’. This goes to show that even though he was physically hurting Tara, in his mind he was trying to hurt his father, or worse himself, for being a failure in life. This exemplifies that even though Shawn may seem like a harmful, threatening person, he is an exposed weakling, who cannot seem to take criticism well, and does not want to see others get praised or do well. This is an example of displacement, although, in this case, the feeling is going from calm to threatening, not the other way around.


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