Monday, May 18, 2009

Precise involving Heath and "Protean Shapes in Literacy Events"

In a chapter entitled, "Protean Shapes in Literacy Events: Ever-Shifting Oral and Literate Events", Shirley Brice Heath contends that it is inaccurate to limit literacy to one continuum. Instead of limiting literacy to fit within the confines of one mold, it is significant to analyze different regions within a society. Analyzing different regions enables one to take in resources available to a region to enable their literacy. For instance, an all-Black community utilizes their oral tradition which enables them to be active participants within both their community and across the globe. Brice utilizes authors such as Heath who wrote about this all-Black community, Tracton, to prove her point.
Many societal members of Tracton make sufficient money. Indeed, the income that Tracton residents bring in is often comparable to many who posses college degrees. Differing from those holding college degrees, many Tracton communes work in mills. Rather than focusing their literacy on defining it as an ability to write, Tracton people uphold oral tradition as being vital to their definition of literacy. Often times, Tracton people read about current events; for instance, and then relate these events to other societal members. Thus, a "literacy event" takes place (445). Heath makes a case for a varying definition of literacy which should be determined on where a group of people is located and what resources are available.
Heath brings up a different point. Literacy shall not be limited to one continuum. This black-community reminds me of people such as the bus mechanic in Dr. Boland's family and our conversation in class about people's desire to go to college. Some people have different interests in life. Indeed, they may prioritize engaging with other people over engaging in texts to inherit information. In essence, it is not fair nor is it possible to confine people to a continuum because one's level of literacy may differ in one area such as the oral tradition; yet, it could be strong in the book sense of literacy.

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