The Variability of Education

Most people would tell you education is important. This is usually true since everyone needs to learn to function with or without society in one way or another. However, people’s experiences with education are varied. For Zitkala Sa in her Impressions of an Indian Childhood, education is formal and often unenjoyable. In HBO’s Game of Thrones, education is exciting and dangerous. Children born to noble families tend to learn how to be a knight or nobleman if they are male. Most girls are taught how to be ladies and then are married away for political diplomacy. Arya Stark defies this norm with her education.

For Zitkala Sa in her Impressions of an Indian Childhood, education is rigid and seems to have a negative effect on her. The missionaries cut her hair against her will. She had to heed to bells. Whenever her and her Indian friends disobeyed their white teachers, they were subject to beatings and emotional abuse. She learned about the English language, Christianity, and about how awful people can be. Her educational experience was truly awful. However, she continued education and got a college degree. But prejudice and racism were never far away. She had to deal with more than anyone deserves just to get her education.

In Game of Thrones, Arya is seen as a tomboy. The show is set in what seems to be a medieval time period so there is not much in the grounds of formal education. The Stark family is royalty, so Arya is expected to become a lady. She resents learning sewing and other lady-like things and instead rebelliously practices archery. Her father eventually hires Arya a combat trainer. Stuff gets crazy and she must run away and use her sword skills and cunning to get by. Instead of being stuck in a castle somewhere hoping her army wins, she uses her education to escape gender roles and do whatever she wants.

Those these two examples are very disparate, they exemplify the variability of educational experiences.

1 thought on “The Variability of Education”

  1. For Ayra Stark, the tension has always been around her identities. Whether she is this noble lady like her mother from the South, or like her aunt, Lyanna Stark, who is also a true “Stark” once played a mysterious Knight of the Laughing Tree and won the tournament, or she is this girl with no name in Bravo, who has has many faces, Arya’s journey is always so compelling because she is making her own choices from beginning to end.

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