Bob Gibson Analysis

1613 Words 7 Pages
Deborah Brandt says sponsors “are any agents, local or distant, concrete or abstract, who enable, support, teach, model, as well as recruit, regulate, suppress, or withhold literacy—and gain advantage by it in some way” (166). Bob Gibson didn’t become a full-time teacher until he was in his mid-40s, and his experiences on that career path highlight both the benefits and the hindrances a sponsor can provide. Those experiences also demonstrate how integral a mixture of positive and negative sponsorship can be. Bob calls his parents his “first teachers” and therefore his most obvious sponsors. They encouraged his earliest strides toward literacy, as they helped him write the alphabet and read road signs while providing “lots and lots of encouragement …show more content…
As a result, Bob listened to lessons from the other grades, which encouraged him to “learn about reading more.” He also received his first recognition as a writer in fifth grade, with a story “about the Pilgrims landing in the New World.” He remarks that the story was probably “historically way off base,” but nonetheless the story reached “the top county educators in Harlan County, Kentucky.” They asked him if he had copied it or if his parents had written it, and when he finally convinced them it was his own work, they presented him with “some sort of certificate” that has since been lost. Both these instances encouraged Bob’s pursuit of education, despite the general “lack of educational opportunities” in the area. “Few jobs,” he says, “needed a degree of any …show more content…
Bob’s parents and the culture of Eastern Kentucky served as sponsors, since they not only pressed him into becoming literate, but they informed the way he made use of that literacy in various writing professions. He worked in newspapers and public relations and freelance, and these jobs ultimately sponsored his entry into teaching. However, Bob’s sponsors also hindered him. Eastern Kentucky was “an obstacle” that did not adequately prepare him for college and led to a strenuous first few years, causing him to choose a major he did not enjoy and leaving him with little idea of how to proceed except to join the Air Force. Conversely, Bob’s time in the Air Force pushed him to read more and to attend the fiction classes that played an integral role in his decision to study journalism. Though Bob’s negative sponsorship gave him difficulties, it was vital to his development as a writer and as a

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