In Blake Beverage’s literacy narrative, he explains the process in which he learned how to pace his work style. His journey to pace his creative thinking process highlights the “outsider” little narrative in an interesting way. The “outsider” little narrative is described in Alexander as individuals that do not fit into the literary progress of their peers. “They tended to express regret over not viewing themselves as reader or writers, as they believe they should” (Alexander 622). “Outsiders” tend to blame themselves for the issues they faced in their literacy journeys, rather than any teacher or institution (like in victim little narratives). Beverage understands this feeling, as he was ostracized in a way that didn’t make him blame the teacher. Instead, Beverage reflects on appreciating the teacher’s suggestions. “At the time I felt like my teacher was kind of singling me out for such a small mistake…Now I know that the smile she had on her face when she first read my essay was her teaching me a lesson” (Beverage 2). Beverage was initially annoyed at the loss of his recess (which is a serious psychological issue, kids need to play!), but instead of playing the victim, he recognized his outsider identity and worked towards being more successful. This is something that I noted among the “outsider” passages that we have read, the outsiders have a tendency to improve based on their past struggles.
In the literacy narrative by Hannah D, she explains the process and struggle of writing an extremely personal narrative. This process related to the economics of literacy, as D showed a very different perspective on literacy. Brandt describes literacy economics as the ‘new’ business of applying a price tag to one’s literary abilities. “As ordinary citizens have been compelled into these economies, their reading and writing skills have grown sharply more central to the everyday trade of information and goods as well as to the pursuit of education, employment, civil rights, status” (Brandt 166). Brandt argues that literacy is a core aspect of many economic ideas. D would disagree, as she viewed literacy as an emotional experience. “Write what makes you happy, that’s the paper to aim for” (D 3). D views literacy as something beyond the economic intent, as many people do. This challenges Brandt ideas of economic literacy.
In Sam Michaud’s literacy narrative, he explains his process of learning to write and the way it changed throughout the years depending on the curriculum. Michaud seems to have an interesting relationship with sponsors, and his view on the sponsors involved in his education directly changes his view on literacy. Brandt describes sponsors as the individuals that control literacy of a certain public. However, in the role of literacy narratives,“sponsors, both explicit and latent, [are those] who appeared in formative roles at the scenes of literacy learning” (Brandt 167). Michaud initially enjoyed the sponsor that involved him in writing. “There was something about her patience and encouragement that made me feel that with her help, I could get the hang of this” (Michaud 2). The support that he received from his teacher influenced his love for writing. As he aged, however, Michaud began to resent the literary control of sponsors, and began to hate writing.
In the literacy narrative of Kayla Farrell, she executes the perfect example of a victim narrative. Farrell describes how a nasty english teacher, Mr Stitch made her lose any love for english that she had. Alexander describes the victim little narrative as one in which the individual is ostracized by a teacher or institution, and it makes the individual lose interest in reading or writing. Victim narratives also tend to be written by privileged people, those that refuse to take responsibility for their own problems. “To adopt the victim role may be the product of entitlement where, from her privileged socioeconomic place, she sees it as a natural right to critique schooling and pedagogical approaches, whereas others without such privilege do not” (Alexander 618). Farrell felt that she had the ultimate say into the way that institutions should teach children. “Also,” Farrell says, “teachers are very influential on their students and sometimes they should think about how they grade or act towards their students” (3). Farrell clearly blames all of her problems on one individual, yet leaves out the actions on her part. I am curious as to whether Farrell put in the effort to make a change, whether she went in for extra help everyday, or met with the teacher during lunch periods. Perhaps that’s the nature of victim narratives, to refuse responsibility.