All posts by kaveena22

Pieces of Herself…Pieces of Myself

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What is Pieces of Herself you ask? Well, it is just this…“At ironic and playful polemic, Pieces of Herself uses the motif of the dress-up doll to explore issues of gender identity in the context of home, work, and community. As the user explores the black-and-white spaces of the text (the shower, bedroom, outside, kitchen, living room, office, and Main Street), she encounters a variety of colored objects that she can drag onto the outline of a body, metaphoric acts of inscription that trigger audio files ranging from music to a biblical pronouncement about the “proper” socio-cultural function of women. What emerges from play with the seemingly disconnected pieces is a notion of the gendered subject that is both culturally produced (discursive) and singularly embodied (material)” (Pieces of Herself, Juliet Davis).

This was one of the most vulnerable pieces of literature I have read as an adult. I found myself discovering things about my past and present through traveling through Davis’s created world. Before learning and journeying through the story, the very first picture we see is an empty body with the words, “Her friends said she needed to ‘find’ herself. And sure enough, when she started looking, she found pieces of herself everywhere…” (Davis). Before reading, I already could relate to this character. I believe every woman at some point in her life has been told that she needs to “find herself,” which could mean something positive or negative. Either way, I have received that statement multiple times in my life. Her friends told her she needed to “find” herself and my friends told me as well. However, I found it interesting that I never told myself that I needed to “find” myself. It was also someone else telling me how to discover things in my life that felt empty and broken. I did not enter the rest of the story, and already I was drawn into the concept of this virtual world. Out of the seven different places, I am going to focus on only two for this blog post. There is so much to say about each room, but for now, I will be taking a close look at the shower and the bedroom. Who knows, maybe I will do a part two for this blog post and discuss the other places shown.

The most vulnerable places such as the shower and bedroom are where one can find out the most about someone if they were a fly on the wall. I appreciated that Davis had us look at the first part of Her world, which was the shower. Even the woman who the world has claimed was the most beautiful has felt the ugliest in the shower or the bathroom. At the top of the image, it says, “In the SHOWER ROOM, where women slip behind the curtains, in perfect synchronicity, to remain invisible from each other” (Davis). This was such a powerful statement to show how women really behind closed doors. “We,” meaning women, have skillfully mastered not allowing another woman to see us because of our insecurities to the point where we actual synchronize with one another in doing so. There were many “pieces” of herself that I found and were able to drag to the empty body. There was one that I saw not drag, and that was the image in the mirror of the woman putting her hands over her mouth and covering her mouth. Anyone, whether it is an artist, an author, a filmmaker, a writer, who shows that visual of a woman looking at herself upset in the mirror, is a pillar in my opinion. It is an image of a tender woman who is not weak but is a human being.

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The second place that I had an emotional and more profound connection with was the bedroom. A person’s bedroom, woman or man, is just as private as their diary. At the top of this page, the text says, “In the BEDROOM, where her mind would sometimes float to the ceiling” (Davis). This was such an eerie and captivating description of how and what the character goes through while in her bedroom. Another chilling part of the room that was genuinely relatable was the voicemail of her boyfriend, or the man leaving her several telephone messages. He started to sound concerned after the second time of not returning his phone calls. There have been many moments in my life where even the people in my life who I should have trusted just because they had certain titles, I would not return messages and did not want to speak to anybody. Just like Her mind would float, my mind does that more than I would like it to. The mind becomes overcrowded to the point where you are aware of your surroundings, but because your mind is so clouded, it can’t help but merely float away. What I realized was how much I was able to drag to her body only by the second place. Her body already was filled with the different pieces of herself. I found this reading to be insightful, relatable, and worthy of my time (just to be frank). 

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Taroko Gorge/Along the Briny Beach!

“Stone articulates the bay. Salt waters carve. Waters mist. Sandstone writes the sea foam. Shuffle along the storied wing long…Shore outlines the channels. Deserted islands erode. Sand dune deposits the maelstroms. Beach comb along the salt-glittering uncharted umnamed…” -J.R. Carpenter, Along the Briny Beach

As a learning student and writer, if a person asked me to think of what literature and poetry are, a few words come to mind. Beautiful, musical, captivating, alluring, and unique. After reading Taroko Gorge by Nick Montfort (http://collection.eliterature.org/3/work.html?work=taroko-gorge), I never realized how the pace of reading poetry and literature plays a part in how we intake what we are reading. Montfort wrote and programmed Taroko Gorge in 2009, which is a piece of generative poetry that gives the reader the feeling of “walking through nature.” It flows down the page with descriptions of nature. The pace of reading poetry has always been slow to me. Even when I go to poetry readings and learning how to recite my poems, I was told to speak slow almost as if I were a robot. However, Taroko Gorge flows fast where it doesn’t seem like poetry sometimes. It reads as a form of art.

Some would probably not enjoy the fact that reading this piece of electronic literature is a fast-paced read. The standard way to read would be to read slowly so the reader could enjoy and appreciate the words. I do agree that reading poetry slow is an excellent way to take in what you’re reading. However, there is nothing wrong with a little change. The flow of the poem allows the reader to have something exciting and unexpected come on the screen. I would describe it a “never-ending song,” but instead of the melody, the lyrics are never-ending and always changing. There is a certain beauty that I noticed and began to appreciate after reading the poem.

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I have been on walks through the park, the woods and other places that involve a nature scenery. There is an overwhelming amount of creativity that comes with these nature walks. The great thing about Taroko Gorge is that the walk does not have to end, unlike in real life where at some point, you must finish your walk and come back home. The lines from the poem attract the reader by its calming words and soothing flow on the screen. By doing some research, I found out that these lines are inspired by Taiwan’s Taroko National Park. From the comfort of my home, I was able to enjoy a nature walk through electronic literature, which is something I have never experienced before as a student. I think the key to really grasping Taroko Gorge is by merely reading it more than once. I read it several times, and each time it was something new and excited. Each time the poem began to unfold before my eyes, and I sat back with a cup of coffee and basked in this newly found poetry.

Now, not to turn my back on Taroko Gorge, but one of the remixes that I will be discussing next is Along the Briny Beach (http://collection.eliterature.org/3/work.html?work=along-the-briny-beach) by J.R. Carpenter, which made me even more curious and captivated by this poem generator that was originally formatted by Montfort. One of the reasons why I wanted to carefully read this piece is because my favorite place is the beach. I am at peace and always in a meditative place when I go there. So immediately this piece caught my attention. One of the differences between Taroko Gorge and Along the Briny Beach is what the reader relies on. The remix has more motion and images that are in sync with the text shown on the screen.

The images that are shown on the screen while the poem is being generated makes made me feel like I was on the beach from my home. With the use of color, images, and text, the poem was able to truly align with what the generator was pouring out. What I thought was fun was how I could move my mouse over the images and the image would sometimes stop, show letters, go fast, or go slower. It also helped that the pictures were of sand, shells, the water, and even things such as rope that would wash up on the shore at a beach. The words and lines that were generated were just as beautiful as the words. Words such as, “salt-glittering” and lines such as, “Islands daydream the coral orchards”; allows me as the reader to “dive in” this piece and become one with it. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Taroko Gorge and Along the Briny Beach as a new way of looking at what poetry really means and what it can be in the literature world.

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Hobo Lobo Hamelin…Interesting

 

The electronic literature piece that I read this week was Hobo Lobo of Hamelin by Stevan Živadinović (http://collection.eliterature.org/3/work.html?work=hobo-lobo-of-hamelin). When I began to read it, I assumed it was going to be a “regular” story. It started off with “Once upon a time…” and almost sounded like a children’s story. I got comfortable and sat up in bed while continuing to read it. It caught my attention because it was something familiar to me, unlike electronic literature.

However, for some odd reason, I could not figure out how to navigate the story. I kept clicking the next page and then ended up at a part of the story that was nothing like the last page I read. I ended up on a part of the story with cricket noises that, to be frank, scared me. That is when I realized there were more parts of the page at the top that I had to click on first. So I continued to read the story and I said to myself, “Alright, this is good so far”. That is when I reached a part of the story that I almost could not finish. I had to stop reading, click out of the link, and went to catch my breath.

I get scared very easily. Between the sounds and the images, it was just frightening and not my cup of tea. However, once I collected myself I went back and finished reading the rest of the story. I will be honest in this blog post, I did not understand the story. However, what I loved about this piece was that it was similar to an electronic pop-up book. I never saw something like that before online while reading literature, which really caught my attention. I also thought it was interesting to use music and sounds to go along with a piece of literature that was so animated. The other part that I loved was that you could read this in French or Spanish. I think that is an important part of literature is incorporating different languages. I could maybe recommend this piece to other people that would love this, but for me, I don’t think I could read this piece again.

Lots of Bots!

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The Electronic Literature (e-lit) piece that I decided to look into was Bots and I must say, I had quite an experience. There are rare occasions in higher education where homework is fun and exciting. I spent hours exploring the different kind of Bots there were. At first, I thought I was going to simply jump around and pick one bot to talk about. However, I ended up taking a look at almost all of them until I came across Poem.Exe and then I fell in love with it. I scrolled on Poem.Exe Twitter page and I have not had inspiration like this in a long time. Liam Cooke from Dublin, Ireland is the author who describes this bot as, “a micropoetry bot, assembling haiku-like poems throughout the day and publishing them on Twitter and Tumblr.” The poems come from Raymond Queneau’s Cent mille milliards de poèmes (A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems) and then creates the different lines for the poem. At first, I was going to focus on Tiny Crosswords by Matthew Gallant because I was drawn to that bot as well. Then when I clicked on Poem.Exe, I knew I wanted to do that one.
The poems that were created from the bot had an angelic sound to them. More recently I have been into the art and study of poetry. Seeing a bot created poems so beautifully made me think that I can be a better writer if I get in touch with my creative mind. I could focus on so many of the poems that were generated but I will only focus on two poems. The first one is,
“first butterfly
siesta
go ahead, make love!
how delightful!”.

This was a recent poem that was generated and the reason why I was drawn to this was that of the subject matter. Intimacy is a difficult subject to discuss and write about. The poem is vulnerable, energetic and elegant. Everyone knows the saying “butterflies in your stomach” when you have romantic feelings for someone else. However, I have never seen this feeling described with one butterfly. Also, making love is described as something delightful. Today, we don’t hear it as sacred and beautiful. This poem was amazing to read.
The second poem that I loved was,
“A year older
scent of old books
before dawn”.

What I loved about this poem was that it made me feel nostalgic. Growing up, I moved a lot from house to house and from school to school, I would usually try and visit the places that I used to live in. So the first line talks about someone being a year older. The second line is about the scent of old books. As a kid, my mother would take me to the library and the scent of the books is something that I can still remember even today as an adult. The last line of the poem talks about the time of day, which is before dawn. Between the hours of one and five in the morning is my favorite time of night. I used to stay up to do homework, listen to music, write, watch movies, and then right before dawn, I would begin to feel tired. Before going to bed, I would watch the sky begin to brighten. This poem connected with me and I’m glad I was able to come across it.
Poem.Exe made me realized that e-lit can truly inspire someone and have the ability to connect globally. This was a different experience that students are not usually given when learning about literature and poetry. The poems did not have a structure because they were generated from a computer but that it was made the process of reading them fun.

Tiny Crossword by Matthew Gallant and Poem.Exe by Liam Cooke

Navigating Electronic Literature for the First Time…Ever!

"Everything can be read, every surface and silence, every breath and every vacancy, every eddy and current, every body and its absence, every darkness every light, each cloud and knife, each finger and tree, every backwater, every crevice and hollow, each nostril, tendril and crescent, every whisper, every whimper, each laugh and every blue feather, each stone, each nipple, every thread every color, each woman and her lover, every man and his mother, every river, each of the twelve blue oceans and the moon, every forlorn link, every hope and every ending, each coincidence, the distant call of a loon, light through the high branches of blue pines, the sigh of rain, every estuary, each gesture at parting, every kiss, each wasp's wing, every foghorn and railway whistle, every shadow, every gasp, each glowing silver screen, every web, the smear of starlight, a fingertip, rose whorl, armpit, pearl, every delight and misgiving, every unadorned wish, every daughter, every death, each woven thing, each machine, every ever after." Michael Joyce, Twelve Blue

    Coming into this course, I have to admit that I was very nervous and filled with anxiety of the fact that I had to study Electronic Literature (E-Lit). Pen to paper has always been my concrete way of learning. Reading literature through a screen was intimidating for me. Until I came to class and learned what Electronic Literature truly was. In my own words, E-Lit is the new way to combine creativity and reading into a form of animation with the use of technology. When I read through Kindle on my phone, I am simply reading a digital form of a book that was once a hardcover. With E-Lit, there is one keyword that drastically changes it and makes it unique compared to literature through a screen. That word is “navigating”.

Jessica Pressman’s article, “Navigating Electronic Literature” opened my eyes to realize what it means to embark on an Electronic Literature journey. She described navigation as, “an element of electronic literature that uniquely affects the ways in which we read and interact with digital textuality”. Having an interaction with the reader is fascinating. In relation to Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce, there were many options to click on giving me a variety of different stories. This was my first time reading E-Lit, so there was no surprise that I was quite confused and did not know what I was doing.

Pressman expressed her feelings about the struggle she saw her students go through when they first began to read Electronic Literature. “In my experience teaching electronic literature, student frustration with navigation and confusion about the reading experience can be turned into fruitful, self-reflective discussions about the role of media on the ways in which information is produced, disseminated, archived and taught” (Pressman). I was excited to read that I was not the first student who was confused about how to navigate E-Lit. However, I was proud of myself towards the end of my experience. While reading Twelve Blue, I spent about an hour and a half navigating and experimenting with the article. The reading of the stories became smoother for me. After realizing how interesting and, for a simpler way of putting it, how fun it can be, I have become obsessed! My goal moving forward with this class and even once the semester has ended, is to expose myself to this new culture of literature and to learn how to teach others about Electronic Literature as well.

Jessica Pressman: http://newhorizons.eliterature.org/essay.php@id=14.html
Michael Joyce: http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/joyce__twelve_blue.html

Out of Our Experience: Useful Theory by Sheila Clawson, Marion S. MacLean, Marian M. Mohr, Mary Ann Nocerino, Courtney Rogers, and Betsy Sanford

“Because all six of us are white, native English-speaking, and women, we had long worked, us teachers, to become better informed about the diversity of our students and colleagues. We knew that social and cultural influences were always present in our research as well as our classrooms” (Clawson).

 

I wanted to continue with the idea of the teacher-learning and student-learning articles that have discussed pedagogies. This particular article has a very strong voice coming from a teacher. Multiple teachers give their ideas, thoughts, and research methods when it came down to using theory in the classroom. By the article being broken down into different sections, it was clear to see various views coming from these teachers.

As I mentioned before, I appreciated the fact that there were multiple authors who worked together for this article. What I found interesting was that they were all white women and actually wanted to learn how to apply diversity to their teachings. As a female student of color, I thought this was a step forward. Even if someone can’t relate to me, it is appreciated to teach lessons that can relate to me or my peers. They offered a new insight and new terms that I thought was interesting. “Betsy Sanford calls it an ‘organizing principle’, a framework from which to try our new practices and collect new data” (Clawson). There needs to be room for learning for teachers as well, not only the students. If that were the case, teachers would be out of a job and students would teach themselves.

If I had teachers growing up who were willing to learning as much as these authors and teachers, then I feel as if my education experience would have been completely different. They actually wanted to connect what they were learning and apply it into the classroom and the lessons they were teaching. This almost reminds me of the previous article that we read about “Bring the Funk” by Heather Bastian. Learning how to be creative and trying something new in the classroom can impact students. “Respect for our learner in a teaching-learning situation is complicated, and we were aware that our lives and the lives of our students and colleagues were different in many ways” (Sandford). This was absolutely amazing to me because one of the first step into understanding someone else is being aware that they are different from you and that they had and will go through things in their lives that are completely different from yours. These teachers, in fact, did apply theories to their experience and research. That made it easier for me to believe. “Because of the experiences we have already described and the theorists and researchers we have mentioned, the research in our schools leaned heavily toward adaptations of qualitative and ethnographic methodology” (Clawson). Once a teacher not only understands that but is aware of that, then there can be a different complex in the classroom.

Reprinted from Teacher Researchers for Better Schools. (New York/Berkeley: Teachers College Press and the National Writing Project, copyright 2004 by Teachers College, Columbia University. All rights reserved.), pp. 9-22.

Student Affective Responses to “Bringing the Funk” in the First-Year Writing Classroom by Heather Bastian

“This desire has been and remains productive for writing studies, allowing diverse voices and genres to permeate our classrooms and scholarship, exposing limitations of academic tradition and convention, and inviting students and teachers to flex our rhetorical acuity within public and private spheres” (Bastian, pg 7).

 

This article, written by Heather Bastian, talks about the goal of having a more diverse way of students write in the classroom and how teachers use more than one method in order to teach various topics. This was very interesting because the article described how thoughts and emotions go hand in hand. They are actually connected to one another. Not only emotions but other things as well. “Currently, writing studies has limited data on student affect-defined by Susan McLeod as noncognitive phenomena, including emotions but also intuitions-because, as many scholars have already observed, the field primarily focuses on the cognitive rather than the affective domain (Brand; Fulkerson; McLeod; Micciche; Richards) (Bastain, pg 9). The reason why I wanted to look further into this section of the article is that if we understand that writing comes in more than one way and in different genres, then there can be process when it comes to first-year writing students in higher education.

The term that was used throughout the article, “bringing the funk”, is something that should be used more in the classroom. My junior year of undergraduate school, Professor Hone told the class, “If school isn’t fun, then what is the point?”. The reason why I relate what my professor said to this article is because he understood that education goes beyond simply having something to write about, handing it in, and then receiving a grade back. More importantly, it is about what did you learn and take away by completing the assignment. However, I do understand that not everyone is like that.

Bastian also talked about how certain students were not comfortable with the atypical way of doing the assignment that was given to them. It all comes down to preference. “Other students found the freedom to move away from academic convention allowed them to express hidden talents…not all students, however, expressed comfort with the freedom granted by this assignment but, instead, found comfort in safety” (Bastian, pg 21). There were some students who preferred typical and some who wanted to the assignment in an atypical way. The point is to try something new and different. Connecting thoughts and emotions and bringing it into the classroom, I believe will truly make a difference.

When it comes to the teachers, I think they should have an open mind when it comes to changing methods of education in the classroom. “As such, writing teachers should be prepared for and not be discouraged or disappointed by the range of effective responses students may have as they move from what they perceive as familiar into unfamiliar genres (Bastian, pg 27). There needs to be room for not only students but teachers as well to be uncomfortable with changing their methods in order to make progress.

 

 

 

 
Bastian, Heather. “Capturing Individual Uptake: Toward a Disruptive Research Methodology.” Composition Forum, vol. 31, Spring 2015, composition forum.com/issue/31/individual-uptake.php.

The Dialogic Function of Composition Pedagogy: Negotiating between Critical Theory and Public Values by Rebecca Moore Howard

This article was a more complicated reading for me personally compared to the previous articles we have read in class. The article discusses the problems of teaching and learning composition pedagogy and how literature is broken down for students to understand. “The arguments of literature scholars can also be traced in the college catalogs that list advanced offerings in literature but only required normative courses in composition. Composition, so goes this reasoning is different from literature and should be measured by its own standards” (Howard, 51). What I believe Howard is trying to argue here is that the topics of composition and literature have both similarities and differences that could be used when teaching. The problem is having the students fully comprehend it.

Howard continues on to say, “In this essay, however, I am urging that composition pedagogy be measured by its own standards-which, I am proposing, include a dialogic function” (pg 52). This essay does explain Howard’s proposal in introducing this a new way of understanding composition. However, throughout the article I found myself to be lost in translation. There were many times while reading this essay I could grasp the point she was trying to make; which made it more difficult to understand the overall point she was trying to make in this essay. One example of this would be when she gave the example of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk and how that relates to the differences in composition pedagogy and literature.

“I find myself taking an argumentative tack paralleling that of W.E.B. DuBois in The Souls of Black Folk:

Nineteenth-century African Americans suffered from a racial “double consciousness” in which they could fully appraise themselves neither by their own standards nor by those of white people” (pg 52). She mentions that the relationship between the two is not because of identity but rather in the subject of English itself. “Composition studies labors in a state of intellectual double consciousness, trying to demonstrate its value by asserting its identity with literary studies” (Howard, 52). This was a problem for me when trying to finish the rest of the essay because I was trying to understand if she was relating DuBois’s literature to having its own standard like composition and literature studies should; Or was she making the point that African Americans’ struggles of dealing with “double consciousness” relates to simply a subject of composition pedagogy.

Another issue that I had while reading this essay was how it related to research itself. A lot of the wording and material that was brought in this essay could have been said in a simpler way and I believe could have been constructed better. There was one idea that was brought to my attention that I thought was enlightening. The term “patchwriting” is something I have never heard before. “Patchwriting, according to composition theory and critical theory, is at the very least a necessary stage in learning new ideas. By many accounts, it is how all of us write all of the time” (Howard, 58). A term such as “patchwriting” is something that was new and I could take away from this essay and apply it to my own studies. Overall, the argument she was trying to make was good with some flaws. Unfortunately, for a growing student myself, it was just something I could not grasp fully.

Imagining the Possibilities: Improving the Teaching of Writing through Teacher-Led Inquiry by Jessica Singer Early

After reading this week’s article, there were a lot of new ideas that were brought to my attention about new methods of teaching writing. Jessica Singer Early who is an Associate Professor of English Education at Arizona State University brings to our attention the idea of “Teacher-Led Inquiry”. There is an obvious change in writing that goes beyond the classroom. This generation of students are different from one another and have a more diverse voice than ever. These students are in a classroom where the diversity is higher and are not being taught to their level. Instead, they are the ones being forced to learn standard and common core tests in order to develop their writing. I have always believed there is a better way of teaching writing in the classroom for students who have various forms of learning.

Early continues on to say, “We must find ways to give students opportunities to learn and adapt to different genres of writing, especially those that may have an impact on their later lives” (pg 12). School has given students the impression that there should only be one way of teaching and one way of learning. From my personal experience, the subject of math is a good example. Growing up, my ability to break down math in order to understand it, was a skill I did not have. I never had a teacher who was able to adjust the lesson in order to accommodate the way I learned. My senior year of high school, I failed the math section of the HSPA, which was the New Jersey state test I needed to pass in order to graduate. My teacher who taught the students who failed the math section taught the overall subject of the math but was able to individually teach us how to solve problems so we could understand. Each one of us grasped the material differently. The same rules apply to what Early is speaking about in this article. There needs to be an opportunity for students to learn based on their individual selves.

Another point that was made in the article was giving students a greater purpose for writing that will eventually go beyond the classroom. When a student has a particular audience to write for that they can also relate to, their writing develops. “Initially, we talked about how this kind of writing invites students to identify a real audience beyond the classroom teacher, to have empathy and understanding for that audience, and to attempt to reach the audience through appropriate content, purpose, and conventions (Gallagher, 2011). By doing this, students will have the teachings of writing that can connect to real-world situations that go beyond the classroom.

However, not everything falls on the student. The teacher, who is the main subject of this article, has to be able to recraft the teaching methods in the classroom. The example of Debra, an eighth-grade English teacher, was given in this article. She decided to create an after-school writing group for middle school students in order to support their writing that will go beyond the classroom. This is an important part of the article because Debra decided to take matters into her own hands and created a safe space for these kids. Safe spaces are used today for kids to be able to be themselves and feel as if they can make a difference.

If encouraged the correct way, they can make a difference. “By expanding the curriculum to include college-and career-ready writing opportunities, these teachers gave students opportunities to examine and explore how diverse forms of writing function in the world, who deems these forms of writing important, and why and to whom these genres matter in academic, professional, and civic settings (Early, pg 14). It was the teachers who gave these students the opportunity to develop their writing beyond the classroom. Developed writing does fall on the shoulders of the teacher, but if we have more teachers who are willing to change writing teachings, then the teacher inquiry will work out for the better.

Developing Students’ Critical Literacy: Exploring Identify Construction in Young Adult Fiction by Thomas W. Bean and Karen Moni

Although this article was written almost twenty years ago, authors Thomas W. Bean and Karen Moni discuss many dilemmas that teenagers go through at home and socially that conflicts with their education that relates to teenagers today. Specifically, teenagers who live in urban areas and surrounded by poverty. The coined term, “contemporary young adult literature” is described as a genre for readers between the ages of 12 and 20. It offers an escape for young adults and a window of opportunity to relate to fictional characters going through similar issues. This article talks about the reality that if a teenager who has to work for their family in order to survive and then goes to school surrounded by books and lessons that does not help with their issues, they are not going to be focused and they will be unmotivated.

“Adolescent readers view characters in young adult novels as living and wrestling with real problems close to their own life experiences as teens” (Bean & Rigoni, 2001, pg 638). It is important to understand that just like adults need an escape from their stress of work and life itself, there are young adults and teenagers who are going through just as much. Using novels that relate to them and that are written in first-person is a great way for these students to learn how to tackle life problems. Another term that was brought to my attention in this article was “critical literacy”. Bean and Moni argue that using critical learning in school empowers students. It allows them to ask the question of, “what choices have been made in the creation of the text” (Janks & Ivanic, 1992). Most of the time, we use novels that cannot relate to them and therefore, they lose interest. However, if you have critical literacy used in the classroom while reading young adult fiction novels, that changes students’ educational process.

In the article, Bean and Moni discuss how the world around us is swallowed by the flow of media, images, advertising, commercials and it influences the making of one’s identity. The last term that was mentioned in this article that I found to be very important was “Enlightenment Views”; which is defined as, “Enlightenment views of identity development were based on somewhat fixed social structures and actions according to class differences” (Mansfield, 2000, pg 640). However, this was challenged by Foucault in 1980 saying, “the Enlightenment View of the rugged individual and argued that power was a driving force in shaping identity” (pg 640). There are two sides developed about whether or not the Enlightenment View heavily influences young adults. Power is something that these teenagers living in urban areas do not see in media nor do they experience it. It is difficult to think they have some sort of power in this society when everything around them shows them in a negative way. Once the students became aware of their society’s cultural influences, they realized more that their identity is blurred by unstable employment, communities, and institutions that do not care about them.

The representation of families and life in the 1950s and the 1960s of a loving, two-parent, white family household with a steady income that is shown on television is a revelation of how the rest of the world is unattached. A teenager who is a person of color living in an urban area, that is taking care of themselves and balancing school, does not find identity in the midst of that. The way critical literacy ties into everything allows the reader to go beyond the usual response questions and learn from the character’s mistakes and apply it to their own life. Critical literacy offers a foundation and framework for these students. I believe that if we continue to use young adult fiction in school, students will be able to break the cycle of not finding their own identity and being lost in the sea of society.