The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me
In the short story of “Superman and Me”, Alexie explains the pain of growing up as an Indian on a reserve where Indians were expected to fail and be uneducated, but because Alexie is smart, arrogant and lucky he broke the mold. The pain he refers to is the pain of being repressed. As young children we like to be praised for our talents, instead Alexie was socially shunned by his peers; Told to keep quiet during class because his participation would some how expose his genius, setting a new standard for his Indian classmates. Alexie refers to himself as a prodigy but then goes on to write, “A smart Indian is a dangerous person, widely feared and ridiculed by Indians and non-Indians alike. I fought with my classmates on a daily basis. They wanted me to stay quiet when the non-Indian teacher asked for answers, for volunteers, for help. We were Indian children who were expected to be stupid.” At such a young age being different can be tough. By referring to himself in the third person Alexie was able to pretend that all the ridicule he had gone through, had happened to someone else, ironically repressing his memories of being an Indian boy on a reserve.
With perseverance and dedication Alexie was able to save his own life and break down the doors of the stereotype of being just another uneducated Indian boy. He places himself in the shoes of a hero. Saving lives through the story of his struggle and going beyond what was expected of him as an Indian boy. Because Alexie was smart and arrogant enough to stand up against the stereotype, he was lucky to make it out alive. He had broken down the barriers of the preconceived notion that Indians were uneducated and through reading he had beaten the odds. The symbolism of superman is clarified when he says, “I throw my weight against their locked doors. The door holds.” Alexie had saved his own life by reading a Superman comic book, which...