Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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Narrating self-experiences inherently involves tension between real time and remembered time, between narrative event and narrated events. Narrators employ various strategies of footing and voicing to position their current “self” vis-à-vis their former selves and their audience. These characteristics are particularly pertinent in the case of significant life changes, such as learning to read and write for the first time as an adult. This paper treats personal narratives of an Israeli immigrant woman elicited during a meeting with a former literacy teacher. The encounter, forty years later, provides an opportunity for both to reestablish their relative identities and reframe their shared history. Analyzing the events — and narratives thereof — within their sociocultural contexts, reveal a delicate balance between gratitude and agency in the construction of a literate identity. These transformational narratives draw upon the Israeli hegemonic narrative of assimilation and modernization as well as the Mizrahi counternarrative of integration, creating a unique version of the consequences of (il)literacy.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): adult literacy; gender identity; Hebrew; Israel; personal narrative
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