Superman and Me: How Does Society Influence on Us
Is the world a collection of paragraphs? Reading a literary piece is simple, but analyzing the true meaning behind the text is imperative to acquire the full understanding of the story. In the piece “The Joy of Reading and writing: Superman and me”, by Sherman Alexie, portrays the meaning through his experiences, from the beginning as an ill-fated Indian to become an intelligent one through diligence and eagerness to become successful. By describing how he taught himself how to read at the age of three, the author narrates his own story to illustrate the faint chances that he had as a young Indian in a reservation to succeed in life based on the circumstances in the society around him. This was not only limited by poverty, but also the limited school system that was around him which indirectly dispirited Indians who were aspiring to become successful. To overcome this life this Alexie shows how it is tremendously significant to pursue your goals through self-motivation. With the reading and writing shaping his life into what it is today, it can be seen that there are no boundaries to any person as long as they have ambition. Alexie’s discussions of the complications that he had to overcome reflect the importance of self-motivation in this astonishing piece.
By making an implicit argument, the implications are indirectly alleged through the piece. It is effervescent the author argues that any person has the potential to become successful, but all they need is an initial start that leads to dedication. For instance: When “Superman is breaking down the door” (17), it is as though the author himself is “breaking” through his barrier that he is living in and will try to come out of it into the tangible world to become efficacious. This is a usage of imagery, where the author relates himself to Superman subtly. “I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky.” (17) Regardless of the author’s status, he was willing to let his self-motivation aid him to becoming successful. He starts to teach himself how to read and supplements his knowledge to approach his goals with each word. The author explains, “At the same time I was seeing the world in paragraphs…” (16) this quote shows how the world started to come together as a story just like paragraphs make up the entire story in a literary piece.
The author exemplifies the importance of the story by using the language through imagery, writing style, and occasionally direct statements in the text . He augments the understanding of the story by utilizing first person to give the reader a meticulous point of view about his life. This is rendered through the real story of the author’s life, giving inspiration to the readers. Not only does the author use his astuteness to be successful, but also shares it with the younger generation around him. In order to share his experiences; he visits a local school to share what he has faced during his life. When Alexie articulates, “I cannot recall a single time that a guest teacher visited the reservation” (18) it means that you are not considered a full genius if you cannot share your experiences with the rest of the people around you. By sharing his intelligence with the age group where he started off, he sustained the potential to change the lives of the children in the school. At extremities , the author even manages to go overboard to basically force the students to focus on education, this is done out of his importance for the children. Alexie yells at them “Books, I say to them, Books! … I am smart. I am arrogant. I am lucky. I am trying to save your lives.” (18) At times, Alexie even compares himself to the other students at school, to show how he was above them but he was not expected to be because he was native Indian. “We were Indian children who were expected to be stupid.” (17) He was not “meant” to be successful according to the people around him in the society, but Alexie manages to overlook these negative racist statements and decides to go his own way to get ahead of them. To show his zeal to surpass the racism he says, “A little Indian boy teaches himself to read at an early age and advances quickly.” (17) This shows how Alexie excelled the standards set by society and proved to show that any person can be successful no matter what race, ethnicity, or class they are. In contrast to the society’s visualization, Alexie succeeded and states his success in life to inspire other Indians to undertake the challenges .
Alexie what he read in books with others around him, and thus effectively makes his argument to the reader impeccably. One of the ways that the author exploits this is by using a specific type of language and first person point of view. He talks about how he had basically taught himself to read. For instance: Sherman repeats the usage of every material he could possibly read, anything that contained anything from a couple of words to entire books. “I read the books my father brought home from the pawnshops and secondhand. I read the books I borrowed from the library. I read the backs of cereal boxes. I read the newspaper, etc.…” (18) By emphasizing this practice, the author shows how this not only lead him to successfully being able to read, but he also became a writer in the end. Reading was the source where Alexie acquired his own “super powers”, like in the Superman comics, which fueled his excursion out of the reservation. “I didn’t have the vocabulary to say “paragraph,” but I realized that a paragraph was a fence that held words.” (16) It is seen in this quote that it is an indirect reference to the author’s life of how he did not have enough materialistic things in life, but he knew what he had to learn to become successful in his life.
Sherman Alexie displays the impediments that he had to over come to become affluent in society. This begins when Superman breaks down the door in the story that Alexie reads, and ends with him visiting the schools often as possible to share his aptitude. Barriers are not only physical, like the door that he broke down metaphorically, but also barriers mentally that he overcame. Becoming an astonishing phenomenon to others, the author shares his experiences for the well being of others. Alexie was a hero who not only defeated his “enemy”, but also saved his own life and others at the same time. The standards of society did not impinge Alexie, and he managed to overlook them to become successful through self-motivation. The meaning of the story is clearer than a glass door, but people have to first take that initial step to open the door of opportunities to be successful. To Alexie, the world was a collection of paragraphs coming together to become a successful story.
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