UNISON

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UNISON

the UK's largest TRADE UNION formed from a merger of the Confederation of Health Service Employees, National Association of Local Government Officers and the National Union of Public Employees in 1993. It currently has around 1,270,000 members in the health service, local government, schools and universities. It includes amongst its membership both manual workers, such as cleaners, and white collar workers such as managers and secretaries. It is notable for having a high proportion of female members.
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Recall Henry Formby's words: "what is a more precious practical truth than Unity, the 'Communio Sanctorum?' and how can there be on earth a more perfect typical expression of this, than the vast unisonous song of a multitude, who, with one mouth and one heart, glorify their God and their Redeemer--where the voices of all, young men and maidens, old men and children, are, as it were, the voice of one person." (71) For Benedict, as Formby, in its theological incarnation chant represents the epitome of divine simplicity--the perfect hypostatic union of words and music, music and man, man and God.
Haruf, who teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University, prefaces his novel with a definition: "Plainsong--the unisonous vocal music used in the Christian church from the earliest times; any simple and unadorned melody or air." The concept informs the book at many levels.
The mother, in turn, is so close to her daughter that "her heart sets tune for mine to beat," and "her new thoughts, incomplete, / Find their shaped wording happen on my tongue" (17.2,3-4), thus generating a "mother tongue" that is more about closeness and rhythm, about wordless understanding and unisonous heart-beats, than about signification and difference.