Narrative plots, then, have not only descriptive but also predictive, or transformative, power. According to Gergen and Gergen (1988), narratives do not create reality, but they are a “vehicle through which the reality of life is generated…we live by stories—both in the telling and the doing of self” (p. 18).

From this perspective, literacy narratives, as a specific form of personal narrative, can be understood as composing or constructing people’s literate lives in the way that the tellers wish them to unfold, to be represented.

Because literacy stories, like all other narratives, are told in social situations, literate selves are never constituted as individual creations, but rather, as Mary Bucholtz and Kira Hall (2005) maintain, they are always an “intersubjective accomplishment”  (p. 587) constructed in, and through, the telling of stories to other people.

In this sense, narratives are, Jennifer de Peuter (1998) might say, “co-articulated” (p. 39) assemblages of “dialogic identifications” (p. 35).  It is through the dialogic exchanges of stories shared with other people that people formulate their identities and their identifications with specific individuals and groups (Buchholtz and Hall, 2005).

The social, in fact, forms the very basis of narrative tellings. “To the extent that narratives are socially derived, socially sustained, and require interdependency of action for their executions,“ Gergen and Gergen (1988, p. 53) argue, they constitute people’s identities and their identifications with others through, and in, social interaction.

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[Narratives plot]... who we may become.

(Kerby, 1991, p. 54) 

Words are deeds, not only in the sense that what we say about what we do gives meaning to what we do…but also that the very objects of our world are constituted as such in and through discourse.  There is not meaning to reality behind discourses that discourse represents; in the representation lies the constitution of what we come to accept as real.

(Sampson, 1993 p. 222)