Fleming examines literacy through 16th century English graffiti and inscribed objects, decorated with visual patterning as well as text. She argues that the boundaries between writing and visual ornamentation were fluid, and that literacy was not limited by what was written on paper. These more ephemeral writings were document a writing which challenge late modern notions of literacy. Graffiti and object inscriptions were detached from the authorial subjectivity, and regarded as materialized thought. In this way, wall writings, tattoos, and inscriptions on domestic objects and clothing, had an expressive consciousness that existed independently of the writer.