Through a suave recount of a childhood episode, Sherman Alexie presents in his essay “Superman and Me” the encounter between the Native American culture and the American popular culture. This essay exposes a personal analysis of Alexie’s writing, decrypting the symbols compressed within “Superman and Me”. Sherman Alexie’s “Superman and Me” transmits critical emotions, as the readers are prompted to understand how a children belonging to an Indian community develops his cognitive skills by reading a “Superman” book, which seems to have shaped the author’s personality.
The essay “Superman and Me” seems to be addressed to a children audience, as it recalls a childhood moment from the personal life of the author. This audience is targeted because Alexie aims to convey educational and social values to American children, directly interested to learn how a passion can contribute to developing one’s personality, to understand how other races and/or ethnicities live and for fostering the diversity from an early age.
After reading the essay, the readers are expected to understand the specific of Spokane Indian ethnicity, to get to know the difficulties that normal families face and the challenges the children of their ages deal with. “We lived on a combination of irregular paychecks, hope, fear and government surplus food” (Alexie 2). Similarly, the essay transmits the idea of early education, instigating the audience to develop a passion for reading books. The targeted readers should be interested in the educational purpose of this essay for developing their own cognitive skills, taking the model of the Indian boy. The readers should understand from this essay that books are cool, and that they never go out of fashion. Also, readers should perceive books as tools for meeting super heroes and being updated with the American pop culture, but also a hobby that can contribute to developing their learning abilities.
While discussing about books and super heroes, Alexie connects these subjects to his father, the figure who inspired him to become passionate about reading. In fact, the essay suggests that “Superman and Me” is an allegoric symbol for stating “My Father and Me”, because Alexie perceives his father as a super hero, who permanently aimed to overcome his condition. The author clearly declares his admiration and love for his father, stating clearly that his father’s passion for books instilled his love for reading also. Therefore, the most important message that the author of this essay aims to transmit is that his father is his hero (his Superman) that inspired him to read, and to discover his passion for the Superman tales. This message is directed towards the audience, so that the children to try to discover the special connection with their parents, for considering them their super heroes. However, the author explains that he wrote this article to show how his passion for reading was discovered in improper conditions, within an Indian family facing existential problems.
After reading this article, I feel sympathetic but in the same time happy for the young Indian boy. I am sympathetic at learning his precarious living conditions that nevertheless did not stop him from being the man he is today – a writer. Knowing he is now a writer makes me happy, as I acknowledged his life’s difficulties and it feels good to understand that through education and familial support he overcome them, becoming a successful adult. I would like the readers to take this personal perception as a goal for managing their own difficulties and achieving success, just as the Indian boy from Alexie’s essay did.
Alexie, Sherman. Superman and Me. Accessed on 5 April 2014, retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/1998/apr/19/books/bk-42979. 1998. Web.