“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.” (Location 2024)

Tags: perspective

Note: Parents views influence their childrens perspective on the world.

a thousand times I had been called Nigger, and laughed, and now I could not laugh. The word and the way Shawn said it hadn’t changed; only my ears were different. They no longer heard the jingle of a joke in it. What they heard was a signal, a call through time, which was answered with a mounting conviction: that never again would I allow myself to be made a foot soldier in a conflict I did not understand. (Location 2948)

It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you, I had written in my journal. But Shawn had more power over me than I could possibly have imagined. He had defined me to myself, and there’s no greater power than that. (Location 3223)

Tags: love

Note: The people we love can have much power over us

A thousand dollars. Extra. That I did not immediately need. It took weeks for me to come to terms with this fact, but as I did, I began to experience the most powerful advantage of money: the ability to think of things besides money. (Location 3344)

Tags: money

Note: the most powerful thing about money is not having to think about it

We had lived in a state of alert, a kind of constant terror, our brains flooding with cortisol because we knew that any of those things might happen at any moment. Because Dad always put faith before safety. Because he believed himself right, and he kept on believing himself right—after the first car crash, after the second, after the bin, the fire, the pallet. And it was us who paid. (Location 3407)

Tags: faith

Note: dont put faith before safety

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. (Location 3814)

Tags: history

Note: our knowledge of the past is limited to what we are told by others

“The most powerful determinant of who you are is inside you,” he said. “Professor Steinberg says this is Pygmalion. Think of the story, Tara.” He paused, his eyes fierce, his voice piercing. “She was just a cockney in a nice dress. Until she believed in herself. Then it didn’t matter what dress she wore.” (Location 3904)

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. (Location 4064)

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. (Location 4116)

There was little hope of overpowering the history my father and sister were creating for me. Their account would claim my brothers first, then it would spread to my aunts, uncles, cousins, the whole valley. I had lost an entire kinship, and for what? (Location 4641)

Tags: influence, media

Note: It is hard to overcome a narrative created by others

After I read Audrey’s letter, the past shifted. It started with my memories of her. They transformed. When I recalled any part of our childhood together, moments of tenderness or humor, of the little girl who had been me with the little girl who had been her, the memory was immediately changed, blemished, turned to rot. The past became as ghastly as the present. (Location 4647)

Tags: memory

Note: .memory our minds can edit and update memories

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? (Location 4746)

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. (Location 4804)

As I walked home carrying the heavy manuscript, I remembered attending one of Dr. Kerry’s lectures, which he had begun by writing, “Who writes history?” on the blackboard. I remembered how strange the question had seemed to me then. My idea of a historian was not human; it was of someone like my father, more prophet than man, whose visions of the past, like those of the future, could not be questioned, or even augmented. Now, as I passed through King’s College, in the shadow of the enormous chapel, my old diffidence seemed almost funny. Who writes history? I thought. (Location 5007)

Tags: history

Note: .history