The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me

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Importance of Reading and Overcoming Obstacles

In paragraph 7, Alexie repeats the verb “read” fourteen times as he explains the materials he used to read during his childhood. The repetition has the effect of emphasizing the importance of reading as part of a life-long learning process for all human beings. Through the repetition, Alexie is also trying to show that his coming to literacy was full of obstacles and required a lot of effort. As he explains how he read different materials, Alexie suggests that it was difficult to access books and other reading materials. In fact, the author says that he had to read bulletins and auto-repair manuals, perhaps due to a lack of books. His father would rarely bring home certain books when he earned extra money; but he did not just wait for his father to bring the books. He also borrowed books from libraries, visited bookstores, and read magazines (Alexie 25). Therefore, Alexie suggests that people should make great efforts to read regardless of the obstacles encountered in accessing the reading materials.

Question 4: Writing in the Third Person

As I was growing up, I always created works of art using ordinary objects I found at home. The third born child in a family of five was so keen to develop artistic work that he would steal ropes, threads, small bags, and papers at home to create something. A little girl with no teaching and experience in art teaches herself to make cloths, playing kits, and other types of art works. She ties objects together in an orderly manner and decorates objects to look beautiful and appealing. Her sisters, brothers and parents always marveled at her work. Writing my own story in the third person creates a distancing effect which helps me to learn about myself from an outsider’s perspective. It has enabled me to see how my work influenced others, and to appreciate what I have learned and done in my life.

Do you find the opening paragraph with the reference to a Superman comic book effective? Why or why not?

Do you find the opening paragraph with the reference to a Superman comic book effective? Why or why not?

The first paragraph related to the Superman comic is effective because it shows the efforts used by the writer in learning how to read. Alexie used the Superman comic book to learn how to read by herself by relating pictures with words. Thus, the author introduces the importance of making efforts to learn without help from other people. Thus, the Superman comic book is used by the author to show the importance of breaking barriers to read and develop knowledge.

How are the final eight sentences of the essay related to the opening reference to the Superman comic book in the opening?

How are the final eight sentences of the essay (beginning with “Books,” I say to them…) related to the opening reference to the Superman comic book in the opening?

The last eight sentences of the essay relate to the opening reference to the Superman comic book because they both show the need for making efforts to read. The author tells his students to read books to learn and develop their knowledge. She leans against the closed doors, which symbolizes the efforts of trying to read or making efforts to know something. Thus, the idea in the last eight sentences relates to the symbolism of the Superman comic book in which Alexie tried to read to open her own doors of literacy.

Reading Critically

In the last two paragraphs of the essay, the author repeats the idea of saving life several times. In the last sentence of the second last paragraph, he writes, “I was trying to save my life” (25). He also writes, “They are trying to save their lives” (25); and, “I am trying to save our lives” (25). This repetition has a meaning to the entire essay. It shows that the efforts made in reading books will help the reader to overcome the challenges of life. From the beginning of the essay, the author suggests that she came from an Indian community in which people are expected to be “stupid” (Alexie 24). Indians were expected to fail in the world of non-Indians, and they would be accepted in their communities when they failed. However, Alexie refused to fail. She chose to be smart and arrogant, to improve her life through reading. Despite the challenges of accessing reading materials, she made efforts to read and pursue education against all cultural, social and economic obstacles. The author shows that during his childhood he read all types of books everywhere and at any time. He also read junk mail, bulletins, manuals, and magazines. By reading several materials in his lifetime, Alexie was able to develop his language competency and knowledge in various fields. Thus, he emphasizes that people should read several times to improve their knowledge and break all the barriers of life. The metaphor of the Superman also shows that people should persist in breaking the “door” of success, literacy, and opportunity. By repeating the idea of saving her life, Alexie demonstrates that her achievements resulted from her regular reading which helped her to save her life. She saved herself from illiteracy and ignorance.

Works Cited

Alexie, Sherman. “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me.” In Cohen, Samuel S. 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2017. Print.

August 21, 2023



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