Superman and Me

Superman and Me is a short story written in 3rd person by Sherman Alexie. It is in the point of view of an Indian man who shares his story about growing up. It begins with his Superman comic book that he remembers nothing about, only that he would stare at the pictures and guessed what the sentences were by how many words were written. He learned how to read by doing this repetitively with his fathers’ books. His father was a great reader and writer from going to a Catholic school. It was very rare for an Indian to go to a Catholic school, therefore only a few went from his reservation. He was so smart in fact he compares himself reading “Grapes of Wrath” to other children struggling to read “Dick and Jane.” This little Indian boy could’ve been considered a prodigy if it was outside of the reservation.

            He had claimed that Indians weren’t supposed to be smart and if they were they were considered dangerous and feared by. The other students would yell at him for answering the teachers’ questions because he was so smart that they couldn’t even get a chance. He said he would read at any time of the day, any time he could. The writer then fast-forwards to the present time claiming that he is still in awe with the fact that he is a writer and not a pediatrician like he had planned. In hopes of teaching the Indian reservation school system about literature and writing, kids crowd his classroom daily writing their own poetry, short stories, and novels; reading his books, many other books, and with bright eyes and wonder of what’s more. In defeat, there are still children out there who carry neither a pen nor pencil, no book, no desire to find what is more and save the brilliance within their reservation.

            There is nothing I love more than ending with a few questions that will keep readers thinking. What would you predict to happen next? Do you think changing this one reservation could change all of the others? If one person can change the lives of a whole reservation what could a whole reservation do to change the world? Who is the superman in this story… the comic book that allowed him to begin this journey or the writer himself?