chapter  7
14 Pages

Closing Reflections on Notational Systems, Boomerangs, and Circles

I began this book assuring you that children have their own ideas about notational systems. Then, I tried to convince you how much these ideas owe to children's interaction with the systems. Finally, in the last chapter I tried to demonstrate that, except in pathological cases, becoming literate has a tremendous impact not only on the way people perceive and conceive oflanguage but also on their entire way of life. The impact is not always beneficial and the effects of literacy are not always perceived as positive. Becoming literate, in a sense, cost Menocchio his life. Many children and young people see in literacy a culture hostile to their family or rejected by their peers. Thus, they prefer to distance themselves from literacy rather than from their family or friends. This rejection is, however, an implicit recognition of the powerful consequences of literacy.