This paper explores and elaborates on issues related to the use of language and journaling as a tool for young female adolescents to gain a clearer sense of self, to differentiate from others, to communicate and to become aware of their socially constructed identities. Their cultural and historical formation, in relation to the specific variables of their interactions with the world, shapes their engagements and the expression of ‘inner’ lives. This paper investigates how adolescent girls use their private writing engagements as means to delve into the quest of their identity search. Issues related to the understanding of aspects of language, inner-speech, self-expression, and power relationships are of importance and discussed. Furthermore, borrowing from Winnicott’s psychoanalytic concepts pertaining to the importance of the psychic uses of the first possessions of the child, it is argued that young girls use the journal as a not-me possession, as a Transitional Object and through their omnipotent relationship with the journal they commence their engagements and relationship with the external world. The use of the journal as transitional object is discussed as typifying a phase in girls’ social, psychical and emotional development, as a secure sphere in which experience of self is not challenged or threatened and as a defense against difficult realities.
|Keywords:||Gender, Self, Identity, Transitional Object, Self-representation, Journal Writing, Psychoanalysis|
Visiting Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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