Sherman Alexie

Topics: Superman, Minimum wage, Comics Pages: 3 (962 words) Published: October 29, 2013

In the essay “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me,” Sherman Alexie credits learning to read a Superman comic book with saving his life. As an Indian boy growing up on a reservation in Spokane, Washington, where being uneducated was not the exception but the rule, Alexie was given few opportunities to succeed. The Superman comic book was the book he taught himself to read with, which in turn saved him from going down a path that lead to a the life of inferiority and failure. Learning to read gave him the confidence to break down a door that had previously prevented Indians from succeeding as well as the driving force that allowed him to persevere against the adversity he faced. The significance of Superman is carried on throughout the essay, not only with the comic book being what taught him how to read but also what its content represented. He illustrates this concept through metaphors and comparisons between himself and Superman, while captivating the reader through his depiction of what it was like for him growing up on an Indian reservation where the expectation given by Indians and non-Indians alike was to fit into the social norm of being unsophisticated and therefore unsuccessful. The Superman comic book was both the catalyst in teaching Alexie how to read and the inspiration to teach others. Alexie introduces his story by painting a picture of what it was like for him growing up on an Indian reservation. He explains that though his family was poor, they were still considered middle class since his parents sometimes held minimum wage jobs: “We were poor by most standards, but one of my parents usually managed to find some minimum-wage job or another, which made us middle-class by reservations standards. I had a brother and three sisters. We lived on a combination of irregular paychecks, hope, fear, and government surplus food.” (Alexie, 28) As a three year old boy Alexie picked up his first Superman comic book, though he cannot actually...
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