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Literacy, Technology, and the Social Self

Essay by   •  February 16, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  885 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,300 Views

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Literacy, Technology, and The Social Self


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.


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



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