Sherman Alexie grew up on an Indian reservation. Alexie was lucky. His father loved to read. This encouraged Alexie as a young child to look at books. His first experience was with a Superman comic book. He would look at the pictures and say what the pictures represented. Thus, he eventually was able to actually read the words.
In "Superman and Me," Alexie's claim declares that reading can make a difference in a person's life.
"I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. Iwas lucky. I read books late at night...I read books at recess...
Alexie emphasizes that because of the white man's attitude some Indians do not try in school. They have been taught to resist the white mans's education. Now he returns to the schools to encourage the students to grab onto their education:
'Books," I say to them. 'Books,' I say. I throw my weight against their locked doors. The door holds. I am smart. I am trying to save your life.
To Alexie, reading and books helped him get off the reservation and find his way in the world.
Alexie's use of rhetorical strategies makes his essay appeal to the reader in more than one way. HIs use of ethos or his ethical appeal comes from his illustrating what reading did for him. From this, he establishes his authority and character as someone the reader can trust. He points out that books have made such a difference in his life that he has become a published writer.
Alexie wanted to be a pediatrician, but instead he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. His decisions have enabled him to look at the Indian boys who resist education and through his success tell them the importance of reading and an education. When he visits the reservation to talk to the children about the importance of reading and education, this is his response:
The Indian kids crowd the classroom. They have read my books. They look at me with bright eyes and arrogant wonder.
They trust Alexie because of his success.
His logical [logos] argument follows the story of his life. Interestingly, he explains that he sees everything as a paragraph. He defined the paragraph as a " fence that held words." He placed everything within the paragraph: his family was seven different paragraphs; the reservation was a small paragraph in the larger United States. This way of looking at things helped Alexie to find his place in the world.
Throughout the story, he appeals to the emotions [pathos] of the reader. His description of his difficulty in the Indian world as an intelligent person strikes a heart string:
A smart Indian is a dangerous person, widely feared and ridiculed by Indians and non-Indians alike. We were Indian children who were expected to be stupid.
But Alexie was none of those things. He refused to fail because he knew is future depended on his education; so he read everything that he could find. Sadly, he explains that anywhere else he would have been considered a "prodigy." However, on the reservation he was considered weird or eccentric. Sherman Alexie beat the system by growing up and using his talents to become a successful writer.
I didn't know how to really get started on this assignment, and I'm horrible at writing, it's definetly my weakest subject, any feedback would be much appreciated.
This short story "The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and me" was written by Sherman Alexie and copyrighted in 1997. "The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and me" explains Alexie's life as an Indian boy and how writing and reading shaped his life into what it is today. This short essay talks about how he first learned how to read, His intelligence as a young Indian boy, and Alexie as an adult teaching creative writing to Indian kids.
In the first paragraph, Alexie explains that he first learned to read with a Superman comic book. But before he could read the comic, Alexie taught himself about paragraphs and how they relate to the real world. He thought of everything as paragraphs such as his reservation he lived on was a paragraph to the United Sates. Or his family as a essay of paragraphs, each family member being a paragraph. He taught himself how to read the text by looking at the pictures and dialogue and pretending to say aloud what he thinks the story might be saying. Alexie learned quickly while many of his Indian classmates struggled to read basic words and vocabulary.
"I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky." These were the words Alexie used in his story. Indian children were stereotypically supposed to fail in the classroom, and most did. Alexie was smart though and the Indians who weren't, ridiculed him. Those who failed were accepted, Those who excelled weren't. But Alexie loved to read. He read everything he possibly could, even if they weren't books.
Alexie visits schools to teach creative writing to Indian kids. Most of the children read his books and write their own. They want to learn and succeed, but there are some of the children who have already given up hope on themselves and sit in the back of the classrooms and don't care anything for reading and writing. In the Superman comic book Alexie first learns to read , Superman breaks down a door, This is what Alexie is trying to do with the kids who have already quit. He is trying to break down their locked doors and really get the children reading and writing.
This story explains the struggles Alexie and his Indian peers have trying to succeed in a non-Indian environment. Alexie looks past all the stereotypes and refuses to fail. He applies it to real world situations and excels in being a author.
I think Alexie explains vividly about how hard it was growing up as an Indian in a non-Indian world and how he looked past the fact he was Indian and succeeded in being a author. I learned a lot from Alexie and his story such as his methods of learning how to read, his "refusing to fail" attitude, and wanting to give back to the community.
I believe Alexie's reading methods are a great way to look at easy ways to teach young children how to read. He first learns the essay structure by comparing everything to paragraphs. I really believe that children will learn a lot better about essays if they learned the structure of a paper before reading or writing one. Then they wouldn't be so confused on what a paper should always look like. Then by understanding the text , he would look at the picture and guess what the person was saying or doing. I agree with this also but children should also first learn the letters and what they mean first before guessing the sentence.
Unlike many of the other Indian children, Alexie refused to fail in school. No child anywhere should give up at all and always have this kind of a attitude. The kids were expected to fail, but Alexie was one of the few to not live up to those expectations. Alexie read everything and everywhere he went. This is probably one of the reasons Alexie never failed in school, because he loved to learn, he wanted to be smart. Everyone should be saying things such as Alexie did like, "I refuse to fail. I am smart. I am arrogant. I am lucky."
As Alexie grew up he became a writer, Maybe he thought he should give back to the Indian children who weren't as lucky as him. He started to teach creative writing at Indian schools trying to help the struggling children. Many took advantage of the opportunity, but some didn't. Alexie doesn't give up on the children as they have already given up on themselves. He obviously cares and wants them to succeed as he has.
Alexie is a great author and teacher. I have a new perspective on how reading and writing affect our lives. After all, we are all just paragraphs in one big long essay.