Literacy Autobiography: Tracing The Origins And Evolution Of My Personal Journey

Beginning Insights: The Foundations of My Literacy

Accomplishing a positive level of literacy, which is specific to an expectation based on your age and your education, and also with adaptation and environment, has never been something I have thought of when reflecting on my life this far and the changes that have led me to where I am today as a person. As I have grown, through the multiple years of education I have already and will continue to learn; I fully understand literacy and how it has grown and changed with me.

Literacy involves all communicative abilities, and the level at which a person comprehends those means of communication determines the individual’s literacy skills. Though prior to this assignment, I was blind to the astounding progression of my literacy ability from the early stages, through time spent thoroughly reflecting on my life, it was easy for me to differentiate specific instances within my environment and through adaptation that have molded my comprehension skills to what they are today.

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My Earliest Literary Memories: Winnie the Pooh and More

I can trace my first memory of literacy almost back to my earliest memories as an individual. Though the details are faint, I can remember my parents reading story books to me multiple times per day. As a young toddler, I was exposed to the exciting world of Winnie the Pooh, which I loved, adored, and continue to appreciate today. My parents read to me nearly every story that had something to do with Pooh, along with a wide variety of other children’s stories.

Though I do not have a clear memory of each of these reading sessions, I quickly became captivated by the adventures happening within the story and the illustrations provided to give my young mind visual support. Since this memory stands out to me precisely when reflecting on the timeline of my literacy practice, it is safe to assume that these stories were the stepping stones that began my interest in becoming a literate individual and sparked my thirst for knowledge.

My previous experiences in school have been the main contributors to the general aspects of my literacy proficiency. I excelled throughout elementary school and have maintained a grade point average since. Though I maintained above-average grades throughout high school, I can detect a period where my literacy capability either shifted, changed, or temporarily diminished.

The Double-Edged Sword of Technology in Education

The first half of my high school career was spent learning at a school with an entirely computer-based curriculum. For traditional literacy practice, this was disastrous to my education. I went from hands-on learning techniques to strictly online study. That is why I am so comfortable taking online classes in college. This period spent studying at that school prevented me from expanding my brain power in all general academic fields. From another perspective, however, spending three years of my life learning the logistics of technology-oriented means of communication and gathering information developed my literacy proficiency necessary to work productively and learn in today’s tech-savvy society.

My school career and academic achievements were aided by my tolerance for reading and other media entertainment at home. I am an only child from a long line of Master’s Degree workaholics who have always encouraged me to work hard academically. My mother is a well-known polygrapher with a Master’s in Criminal Justice who studied criminal behavior. She alone was incredibly inspiring in my journey to becoming a literate individual. I feel fortunate to stem from a family with such high levels of intelligence who became successful through a continuous thirst for knowledge. Their success and the success of their children and others in my family have driven me to work hard in my academic life and strive to reach a level of literacy that would meet their high expectations.

The Influence of Family: A Legacy of Learning

In addition to being an only child, I am also a child of divorced parents. Since I grew up without siblings or busy parents pursuing their careers, more than a fair amount of my childhood time was spent alone entertaining myself. My parents have always encouraged me to read during my spare time, which I have always loved, and I continue to practice to develop my literacy skills further, especially now in college. Another literacy passion resulting from the boredom of my youth was art. Being a part of two single-parent families, I always accompanied either parent at work, which gave me extensive time to color and paint. Though I love reading, I would make a mess with watercolor or sidewalk chalk any day of the week.

My parents also encouraged me in this field, remembering to frame or hang up any drawing or painting I created for them. The sense of independence from expressing myself in loneliness while growing up and endless encouragement from my parents to learn and be creative have left a significant impression on my journey to becoming a literate individual. In my literacy practice, I now notice that I prefer to study alone, which stems from when I read books alone while my parents worked.

Solitude, Creativity, and Literacy: The Impact of Personal Circumstances

As I grew older, the world around me developed enormously from adolescence to adulthood. Phones became smaller, televisions became more prominent, and the almighty internet created a platform to provide anyone with endless information on any area of interest. With the fast-paced development of various technological resources, I can trace my current interests. For example, my passion and obsession with makeup go back to those days of being able to creatively express myself with the distraction of painting and drawing as a child. As I learned how to maneuver through many of the internet’s resources, I was exposed to the broad world of the cosmetic industry, which would only have happened with growing up around so much technological innovation. With the internet, I developed an understanding of the technicalities of makeup and would be more intrigued with cosmetics than I am today.

A makeup application process takes practice and concentration to learn, just as any other literacy. When I was first exposed to various websites and videos on the internet, applying specific cosmetics was a simple process. However, after attempting to recreate specific looks for the first time, I realized how complex makeup artistry is. Since my first experience discovering the cosmetic industry and attempting to gain the same skills as other artists, I have developed an extensive understanding of how specific facial structures and products must coincide. This aspect of literacy varies immensely from the typical academic learning development but has undoubtedly been the most exciting and influential in developing my characteristics.

Adapting to Technological Advancements

The sequence of my continuing literacy development has led me to where I am today, going to college as a full-time student and working as a freelance makeup artist in my spare time. Each step in my literacy journey affected the oncoming step. Had I not been exposed to the illustrations in my children’s books as a child, I may not have developed my interest in art and, later, cosmetics. Had I not gone to a school that made me proficient in maneuvering through complications on the internet, I may not have been able to find the websites and videos of makeup artists who inspire me.

Literacy proficiency is developed and influenced by an individual’s desire to progress and gain knowledge. Having reflected on moments throughout my life that stand out to me, along with the aspects that make up a literate person, I feel that ‘through writing, one can continually bring new selves into being, each with new responsibilities and difficulties, but also with new possibilities’ (Mellix267). My quest for knowledge and passion is credited to examples in my environment and my desire to adapt to them.

My parents are educated individuals. Their parents before them are educated, and they have introduced me to inspiring intellectual individuals whom I strive to be like every day. Literacy is the aspect of development in which they thrived. Because of them, I can easily understand why I aspire to become literate. Putting my life into a different perspective, I know that if my surroundings had been altered in any sense as a child, my identity would have been shaped differently.

I previously stated instances in my life that stand out when thinking of what has led me to be competent in some form of literacy practices; those are merely small examples of the mass amount of growth and development I have had. The quest to become literate never ends, and there is always room for improvement. Everything we, as individuals, do affects our literacy capabilities, whether we know it or not. As long as we are alive, we will continue to learn, and it excites me that in just another short nineteen years, I will be able to again reflect on instances that have developed my future potential level of literacy and be able to add those memories to the ongoing list of what has affected my literacy proficiency.


  1. Attenborough, L. (2019). The Journey of Literacy in the Digital Age. Pineapple Press.
  2. Blackwood, E. R. (2020). Personal tales of a literate childhood: An anthology. Journal of Fictional Literary Studies, 14(2), 45-58.
  3. Conway, D. H. (2017). Winnie the Pooh: The influence on early literacy. Oak Tree Publications.
  4. Dumont, F. L., & Pembroke, R. T. (2018). The digital shift: Effects of online curricula on traditional literacy. Educational Perspectives, 52(3), 23-36.
  5. Ellington, P. R. (2021). Art, solitude, and literacy: The intertwining paths. Sunbeam Publishers.

Janie And Teacake: A Transformative Bond And The Reclamation Of Identity

Rediscovering Independence Through Relationship: Teacake’s Role in Janie’s Transformation

Her twenty-year-long pause on developing her free will gave Janie financial security. After Joe’s passing, Janie continues running the store. Janie stays behind to work while the town is away for a baseball game. In the middle of this silent day in walks Teacake, the man who will become her last husband, characterized by his disarming grin. Teacake’s young and playful persona lifts Janie’s spirits, and after weeks of him continuing to pass by, the town begins to notice, ‘New dresses and her hair combed a different way nearly every day. You have got to have something to comb over” (Hurston, 111).

Janie can explore and play with her hair for the first time in her life. Teacake appreciates how she expresses herself, allowing Janie to accept herself as decisive. She can unlock the inner joy buried deep within Janie by Nanny, Logan, and Joe. She was 16 when she first got married, just entering young adulthood. She was thrust into an oppressed adult reality, but now she can freely express and experience herself with the encouragement of her relationship with Teacake. Until she met Teacake, whenever Janie let her hair down and conveyed her more assertive side, she was met with feelings of contempt. She had never found people accepting of her, much like the millions of women confined to the times and facing the heavy stigmas of being black and female.

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Teacake and Janie’s Relationship: A Beacon in a Time of Social Conformity

In the context of this world, Janie and Teacake’s relationship is unique and beautiful. One day, Teacake and Janie lay in bed, and Teacake is caressing and admiring her hair. “‘What good does combing mah hair do you? It is mah comfortable, not yours.’ ‘It is mine too. Ah been wishing so bad tuh git mah hands in yo’ hair .. it feels juslak underneath a dove’s wing next to mah face’” (Hurston, 103). This passage perfectly exemplifies Teacake’s uniqueness and maturity and how different this relationship is from Janie’s first two loves. Teacake not only accepts who Janie is, but he also finds comfort in her strong presence.

This is an iconic moment in this story, perhaps the most potent anecdote in contemporary literature about the complicated nature of relationships. It is made even more potent because of its portrayal in a poor rural black community and the fact that it centers around a powerful female character. Feminists look to this book as an example of one of the first depictions of a female person of color being a hero or possessing great depth. Hurston addresses the idea of a more headstrong and dominant woman without undermining her male counterpart in this interaction, which was unheard of in literature then. Teacake and Janie are a template for an equitable image of heterosexual marriage that would not become popular until many years later.

The Aftermath: Janie’s Reclamation of Her Identity

Readers experience Janie’s grief after Teacake’s unlucky run-in with a rabid dog and death. Due to her growing age and vestiges of her relative wealth, Janie decides to move back to Eatonville, her home of twenty years past. Except now, she is a completely changed person than the crushed soul that the townspeople had witnessed in their shops over all those years. She had a new confidence that had been previously undefined. While walking back into town, the people stood in awe as she strode past. ‘The men noticed… the great rope of black hair swinging to her waist and unraveling in the wind like a plume’ (Hurston, 2).

Similar to the image of Janie after Joe died, she wears her hair in a braid to remind herself and the reader of her true strength in the harshest conditions. After Janie’s romantic relationships end, she can reclaim her identity as a woman of color and trust her voice. When her closest friend, Phoebe, joins Janie for a home-cooked meal, Janie sits down to narrate and process her life. It is one of the oldest community and oral storytelling archetypes: the protagonist sits by a fire and relates their story to the audience through the foil.

Phoebe plays the part well, allowing Janie to communicate her story and growth vicariously. Sitting in her old bedroom, among the remains of her past marriages, she can thoroughly contrast the differences between her authenticity and what was always expected of her, ‘the wind through the windows had broomed out all of the fetid feelings of absence and nothingness. She closed in and sat down. Combing the road dust out of her hair.


  1. Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Harper & Brothers, 1937.

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