Keeping Ourselves Alive
  • ISSN 1053-6981
  • E-ISSN: 2405-9374
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AbstractLiteracy, both as a theme and as a narrative structuring device, marks much literature and takes on specific shapes and forms, depending on its relationship to its generic and historical contexts. Set in Pittsburgh, Willa Cather's "Paul's Case: A Study in Temperament" (1905/1983) features the steel world of indus-trialists and laborers, the world of monied capitalists (Carnegie, Mellon, West-inghouse, and Heinz) and of workers aspiring to middle-class safety or, in their daydreams, to the wealth of an employer like Carnegie, who began as one of them and who advanced, as he claims in his autobiographical accounts, in part through literacy. By studying Cather's short story, we can learn how literacy shapes construction of character in fiction and biography as well as construc-tion of persona in autobiographical material. That is, we can learn the integral role that figurations of literacy play in literary narratives. (Literary criticism, dialogic approach and biographical criticism; composition and literacy studies) Dreams are neither ideologically neutral nor politically innocent. (Giroux, 1990)


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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