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“Superman and Me” is an article by Sherman Alexie that addresses his early experiences with literature. Illiteracy is a huge issue in some lower class groups. Alexie states that, as a Spokane child, his future would likely consist of minimum wage jobs. The author portrays literacy as a method of escaping these circumstances. In “Superman and Me”, Alexie describes how he gains his ability to read and write. He begins his journey to literacy in the most unlikely of places: a Superman comic book.
The author explains that his reading trials expanded beyond those colorful pages, and allowed him to read the novels his father brought home. Clearly, the fact that he was surrounded by literature seems to have led to him becoming literate.
These efforts led to hardships. Cultural expectations of Native Americans challenged him throughout his childhood. It is amazing that he had so many of these struggles as a child. Regarding the time he spent in class, the author notes, “We were Indian children who were expected to be stupid”.
Alexie describes his classmates as being brighter outside of the classroom. This contradiction is puzzling. It seems as though the children are seeking to fulfill a role expected of them by the mainstream. It would take a strange kind of culture to disapprove of reading and learning. Still, Alexie disregards such negative influences.
The story is painting a bigger picture, as far as literacy goes. Just as Superman breaks through the door to his target, Alexie does so as well.
The breaking of the door represents a mental breakthrough. Instead of superpowers, Alexie has knowledge. He knows that literature can open the door to new opportunities. This is why he wishes so strongly for those failing students to strive for more; they can become something more than Spokane reservation kids.
Alexie, Sherman. “Superman and Me.” The McGraw-Hill Guide: Writing for College, Writing for Life (Student Edition): Duane Roen, Gregory Glau, Barry Maid.
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