The Use Of Tone In Superman And Me By Sherman Alexie
I have always been slower at being able to learn things. Growing up it always took me longer to learn new material and I have always needed extra help. Throughout my education I have been in programs and get accommodations on specific things. It has been hard at times because everyone will understand something and I will act like I get it but I really do not. That has been the hardest part at times, but I realized that it is ok that I need extra help or extra time on learning things. In “Superman and Me,” by Sherman Alexie he uses a variation of tones in the purpose of explaining how his childhood was rough which shows his tone through society and how he was a survivor.
Sherman opens his story with an unexpected tone that his first experiences with reading, is what influenced him and how it affected his life and his career path. An example of that is when he writes “They carry neither pencil nor pen. They stare out the window. They refuse and resist. “Books,” I say to them. “Books,” I say. I throw my weight against their locked doors. The door holds. I am smart. I am arrogant. I am lucky. I am trying to save our lives”. Alexie uses repetition when he is saying “I say to them books.” “Books,” I say. Alexie uses repetition to indicate the break between himself and all of the other Indians. He uses “I” to show his separation into his own individuality. When he uses alliteration when he says “I am arrogant. I am lucky. I am trying to save our lives”. He wants to get the point across that he survived and followed one of his passion which was teaching kids. The short sentences refer to him saying that he will not fail because he is determined and has faith in himself. As an Indian he was viewed as “dumb”. The short sentences also represent that since he taught himself how to read and write as a little boy he read all the time and he was actually smart as a young kid. He is not doing it for himself he was doing it for people so they can see that Indians can be smart too. In a way he is superman for the children. Alexie is trying to save the lives of the children of the reservation whether they want it or not. Throughout the story he also uses anaphora when he continually uses the phrases “I” was trying to save my life. “They are trying to save their lives”. I am trying to save our lives”. Alexie uses anaphora because it is another attempt to emphasize his experiences reading, and the overall importance that he places on the act of reading to succeed. Although Alexie may seem of concern to only a small group of people, it should in fact concern anyone who cares about society.
Sherman switches up the tone to society and he opens up with that he struggled as a young kid, but his desire was to be successful and do what is best for his own future and also what is true to his heritage and his culture. Alexie himself writes, “The Indian kids crowd the classroom. Many are writing their own poems, short stories and novels. They have read my books. They have read many other books. They look at me with bright eyes and arrogant wonder”. In this quote he uses repetition when he writes “They have read my books”. They have read many other books”. Alexie repeats the word “books” hoping that “books” will be an echo in the children’s minds. He wanted to get the point across that these children love to read and he is feeling accomplished because they are reading his books and he has taught them how to read. He also uses alliteration when he says “They look at me with bright eyes and arrogant wonder”. He uses alliteration because many children were confused and did not know how to write which is why they were giving him blank stares. At the end of the story he uses periodic sentence. The last sentence that would show that is emphasizing that he wants to save children’s lives and make them as educated as possible.
Many Indian children were looked as that they were not capable to learn and be as smart as others in society. Society looked at them like they can’t do anything and that they will never learn like others. Indians were expected to fail in the non-Indian world. This is why he wanted to make a difference/change in their society because it’s not fair that people looked at Indians that way. Sherman wanted to be a survivor and make and impact on the world and did not want to be seen as that Indian who wasn’t smart and was looked at as “dumb”. He wanted to give children an education that they deserved. He is a survivor because without his dad he would not be the same person as he is now. He is a survivor because he managed to stick through all the negativity but that did not stop him from following one of his passions. These findings have important implications for the border domain of social injustices.
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