Thursday, January 20, 2011

Literacy & Writing

"It is the ability of writing to free us from our embeddedness in the personal relations involved in oral interactions that leads to the achievements cited above: We can be detached, critical, reflective only because writing allows us to express ourselves outside of the constraints of ordinary everyday intercourse...[writing] did not simply extend the structure and uses of oral language and oral memory but altered the content and form in important ways" (Street, 35).


As Brian Street discusses literacy and writing in "The Meanings of Literacy," he brings up the point discussed by researchers Goody and Watt that the beginning of modern society was indicated by the shift from a illiterate or nonliterate society to a literate one (35). The quote above shows the importance or power seen behind the written word. This switch from a purely oral society to a written society changed how people interacted. It was no longer focused on memorization but on the availability of written record.

Sylvia Scribner, author of "Literacy in Three Metaphors," supports and expands on Street's idea of writing and literacy by saying that "the ideal literacy is simultaneously adaptive, socially empowering, and self-enhancing" (18). Also, in "Myths of Writing," Frank Smith states the two major parts of writing are "to create experiences and to explore ideas" (234). Literacy, in terms of writing, is essentially an outlet of expression that may be used to critique, reflect, or explore. However, the most important part of literacy and writing is the ability it has to empower the individuals who know how to properly and effectively implement it in their lives.

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