Surroundings: The Making and Breaking of People


Before I launch into explaining the discourses I am a part of, I should first add that the definition of “discourse” given by Gee in his article was difficult for me to fully understand. That being said, my discourses may or may not fit into some of the typical examples of what a discourse is. Enough of this though, let me get to the matter at hand, which is the description of the discourses I chose. For my primary discourse, I chose being an American, as that has influenced me, whether I wanted it or not, since my birth. Growing up in America, my experiences were, and still are, very different from many other children growing up in other countries. I went to Belize in 8th grade, and for them education was a rare and greatly sought after opportunity. For myself as an American, education sometimes came off as a requirement, and I never had to worry about whether or not I had it, or how I would get to the place it was given to me. (In Belize they would walk for about 30 minutes, then take an hour boat ride just to get to the nearest high school.) America has a varied culture, in both good and bad ways, and this, again, influences the way I live. In truth, I think being an American gives me more freedom for things, and that is at once a beautiful privilege, but it can also be a downfall, if one were to let it go to their head.

All of my secondary discourses are also results of my primary discourse, except for one that I did not list, of myself being a woman—gender is biological, not geographical. My secondary discourse that I feel is most important is my faith, that of Christianity. It shapes everything i do, and gives me my morals. The way I look at everything from everyday tasks to war and various political issues is affected by my faith. Some can argue this can be bad or even blinding, but in my view of my faith, I try to keep an open mind and heart. Some examples of what this affects, however, are as follows: I believe in second chances, and am very open to forgiving. I also try my hardest to love anyone and everyone, and never let a person’s faults get in the way. War, crime, and those things cause me much grief, as I do not think they are meant to be part of this world. The things I do love, I think are gifts rather than just random occurrences in life. This leads me to my next discourse: Literature! This discourse is the second most important thing to me. My study of Literature causes me to think differently, and it also influences my writing and speaking. I speak in more proper language than most, and I do not often use the shorthand, “chat speak” in many technological circles because I have continually exposed myself to high language and it is something I enjoy. Literature is also just something I find fun and am passionate about, so it affects even my social media—I post more about books and my studies than I do anything else, and on a cold day I’m tucked away reading or writing, and even on a warm day I often prefer books to people. (No, I’m not a recluse. Leave me alone.) And again, one discourse has fed into another—because of Literature I have been exposed to the world of Sherlock Holmes, and therefore exposed to the TV show BBC Sherlock. It may seem strange to list a “fandom” as a discourse all on its own, but when one loves a show and its creative process as much as I love BBC’s Sherlock, then it’s not hard to understand. I have become emotionally attached to the show, and therefore many things are changed—many of my friends love it just as much as I do, and we became friends because of this common interest. My Christmas gifts, the ringtone on my phone, even the tea I drink can be tied to Sherlock. Fans often flock together and let their shows influence much of their lives, and I am no exception.

All in all, my discourses shape who I am, and I am pleased to say I am quite happy with the results so far.


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