Introduction The way we define who we are is a direct result of what we know. “Literacy reflects contradictions and complexities in how we understand ourselves and construct roles for ourselves through language in that world. X. ” Since the arrival of the Feed in ____, emphasis on the individual has become less central in our lives. This lack of focus has led to relationships that are left vulnerable and weakened. In this section we will be considering the impact of the decline in literacy on the “Social Self.
” In basic terms, the Social Self is defined as how an individual interacts with the social world presented to him/her and how he/she approaches the formation of relationships. Individualism All throughout history, individualism has been key to the advancement of humanity including – most importantly ? the spreading of freedom. The world we live in has been changed greatly through the individual’s critical understanding of literacy. The vigilant and knowledgeable use of the written word is what carries one’s claims to the world.
“Emancipatory literacy is a necessary foundation for cultural action and freedom, a central aspect of what it means to be a self & socially composed agent. X” This type of literature is used to empower the people who use it. It involves engaging in acts of writing and reading that are used to liberate humanity. How can anything be changed without the use of this emancipatory literacy? “We must write as if our lives depended on it. X” Literacy gives a voice to our ideas, and creates a space for us in the world to work toward change and to reflect on that change so that it is not forgotten.
“A Lesson Before Dying” is a novel by Ernest J. Gaines. It encompasses the theory of emancipatory literacy through its character Jefferson. A young black prisoner on death row, Jefferson transforms the racist mind of a white prison guard, Paul, mostly through his demeanor while in prison. Paul felt sympathy for Jefferson in a time when colored people were greatly looked down upon. It seems likely that not too long after Jefferson was electrocuted, Paul would have forgotten what Jefferson had taught him- that all people, regardless of race, are equal.
However, Jefferson left behind his notebook in which he wrote his thoughts on the days leading up to his death. The words in that notebook exist forever, unlike to the feelings that Paul was feeling. The permanent physical reminder of Jefferson for Paul is one reason of why literacy is so important. X Another aspect of how literacy affects individualism is in its contributions to self-construction. Literacy provides the opportunity to define one’s self through written language.
It gives a way to build a self with in the world in order to participate in that world. “Literacy reflects contradictions and complexities in how we understand ourselves and construct roles for ourselves through language in that world. X” Only through reading and writing can one gain independence by experiencing things that, without literature, would be impossible to encounter. Imagination and creativity come from a brain that has been well educated and completely exposed to what cannot be seen in every day life.
Books take on that challenge- the challenge to exercise the mind in ways that enhance self-discovery. With this self-discovery comes self-worth, which is evident not only in how we treat ourselves, but also how we treat others. Relationships Sets of experiences in our lives lead us to accept different positions for various aspects including political and theological stances. Literacy provides these experiences that educate us to know what we like and what we do not like. This understanding of who we are and what we believe give us commonalities to base relationships on.
Relationships are defined by a significant connection or similarity between two or more things, or the state of being related to something else. X People form relationships with others who have the same interests and beliefs. Being literate is the key to a healthy relationship. The Continuing Decline of Literacy in the Future When forced to examine the future of our world and the consequences of the unavoidable continuation in the decline of literacy, it becomes quite clear that humanity is in trouble.
If society continues to travel in the direction that it has been for quite some time now, the Social Self, along with many other aspects of humanity, will greatly suffer. Conclusion While some of the qualities that enhance the Social Self come from innovative technology, the heart of these qualities lies within books. Books engage our minds and ignite cognitive thinking. It promotes imagination and intelligence. By ignoring literature, society has diluted its unique identifications that make this world a more interesting place to live.
Works Cited: Ernest J. Gaines. A Lesson Before Dying. 1993. Vintage Contemporaries. New York. Mark Warschauer. Electronic Literacies: Language, Culture, and Power in Online Education. 1999. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, New Jersey. Catherine Snow, Wendy Barnes, Jean Chandler, Irene Goodman, Lowry Hemphill. Unfulfilled Expectations: Home and School Influences on Literacy. 1991. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Robert P. Yagelski. Literacy Matters: Writing and Reading the Social Self. 2000. Teachers College Press. New York.