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Me and Superman

Superman and me is a literacy narrative written via Sherman Alexie. The essay was first written in the 'Los Angeles Times Magazine' on April 19, 1998. In his short story, Alexie was explaining the pleasure of reading and writing which he labeled 'Superman and me.' The story describes the life of Alexie since he was once a young Indian boy and how writing and reading shaped his lifestyles to become who he is today. Alexie was an Indian growing up in a non-Indian surroundings where the fear of failure outweighed the chance of success. He starts his book by explaining that he learned how to examine using a Superman comic book. He related the paragraphs in the book to the real world even before he began reading it. Alexie says that he likened everything in life to the paragraphs such as living in the US and his family members. He was able to learn quickly when compared to his Indian classmates because he taught himself to read the text by looking at the pictures and dialogue and pretend that he was saying them aloud. Alexie described himself as smart and that he refused to fail. Therefore, he now goes around schools teaching children creative writing with an aim that they will learn and want to succeed. Most of the children read and even write their books, but others have given up hope. He likens them to a closed door where Superman is forced to break in first. Alexie succeeded as an author despite the stereotype that expected him to fail. Therefore, the reading and writing have made him who he is today, and he passes it on to other Indian children.

Analysis

Social justice focuses on the distribution of opportunities and privileges in society. The role of literacy is mainly to place all individuals at an equal platform to access these opportunities and rights. Alexie is writing to Indian children who grow up in a non-Indian environment, which has so many challenges, and stereotypes that expect them to fail. Alexie knew that the society he grew up in expected him to fail and that is why he said in the text, "I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky." He related what he learned in school to real-life situations, and that is what made him succeed. After excelling, Alexie realizes that his duty towards other Indian children is to encourage them through creative writing. He is trying to make them understand that it is their literacy that will make them great in this environment. Most of the Indian children read Alexie's books and other authors too, and they write their poems, short stories, and novels. Alexie says that such children are trying to save their lives because they are doing something that was believed to be beyond the capacity of Indians. Alexie still says that there are others who are already defeated and they ignore his theatrical precision. He describes them as those who sit in the back, their books empty and they have neither a pencil nor a pen. All they do is staring out of the window. Alexie tells them that books are their only chance to make it and he sees their discouragement as a door, which must be broken down. Alexie throws his weight against these doors because all he is doing is trying to save their lives. He relates in an exemplary way to Indian children who are his audience.

September 01, 2021

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