ERIC Number: ED344222
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Composing (as) Power.
A striving for something beyond ourselves is one way of defining spirituality, and, although spiritual and religious motives have traditionally impelled students to learn to read, the intersection of literacy and spirituality has gone largely unrecognized by scholars. Six women were interviewed about how they use literacy in their spiritual lives. All were members of Al Anon, aged 35-55, ranged from GED (Graduate Equivalency Degree) to masters student. Al-Anon, patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous, utilizes the "Twelve" Steps and is biased toward literacy. The women in the study wrote many different kinds of documents which were studied, including fourth steps, journals, "Dear God" letters, poems, stories, etc. Two of the subjects, Jennifer and Tommie, represent all of these genres and display a rich complexity of voice. Extensive quotes from their individual writings document their separate experiences. Three stages in their similar spiritual journeys can be outlined as follows: (1) "The healing came," associated with the "fearless moral inventory" of the fourth step. (2) "I had to let go of it being perfect, and then it became perfect," referring to the release of expectations; and (3) "We can't carry our message if we don't have our own language," which entails discovering the true power of each individual's own words. This last stage of attaining a personal language is similar to Bell Hooks's notion of "coming to voice." For both, the intersection of literacy and spirituality involves empowerment. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Al Anon; Alcoholics Anonymous; Self Affirmation; Self Empowerment; Voice (Rhetoric)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).