Some people were born with silver spoons and some were born with no spoon at all. Growing up comes with different types of experiences for many kids. “Superman and me” by Sherman Alexie is a story about the author’s personal life experience and struggles. The author describes the importance of literacy. A lot of children all around the world are confronted with many challenges at a tender age. Life is not a bed of roses, but ambition is the key to success.
Alexie describes his family standard of living, “we were poor by standards, but one of my parents usually managed to find some minimum-wage job or another, which made us middle- class by reservation standards” (Alexie 1).
The author described his experience on how to read and write, apparently, he was surrounded with books, he had a choice not to like books but his love for his father who was an amazing reader influenced him positively and he developed strong passion for reading and eventually created his own dialogue. Alexie’s father laid the foundation for him unconsciously because of his love for reading books. Despite being poor, he found a way of making extra money to buy books. Breaking out of his community stereotype was his breakthrough to success.
Alexie described the size of his family by saying, “I had a brother and three sisters. We lived on a combination of irregular paychecks, hope, fear and government surplus food” (Alexie 1). Despite his family standard, he was lucky to have parents that would do whatever it takes to bring food to the table.
Alexie taught himself how to read from the Superman comic book. The author’s main objective was to educate his fellow Indians Alexie once said, “A smart Indian is a dangerous person, widely feared and ridiculed by Indians and non-Indians alike” (Alexie 2). He understood how well to manage his time. Alexie prioritized reading and read anywhere. He saw beyond the financial limitation of his family, he came from a poor family. His father devoted himself to the habit of buying and reading books. He taught himself the concept of paragraphing using his own examples for clearer understanding.
Alexie used his life experience to describe what literacy meant to him and this defined how he walked his way to success. Alexie talked about his expectations from other Indian children. However, that he put much hope in his other Indian students, expressing how smart they were outside the classroom but struggle in the classroom makes it look like he overpraised the Indian children, Alexie said, “They struggle with basic reading in school but could remember how to sing a few dozen powpow songs” (Alexie 2).
My personal experience learning how to play the piano as a kid gave me more understanding on how stereotype brings about limitation. I grew up in a setting where kids were never given opportunities or a sense of belonging. I loved the piano so much, but I couldn’t afford to buy one or pay for a formal training at a music school. and not formal training. My passion was so high that I would draw the keyboard on a large drawing book and make out the sound with my mouth while pressing the “keys” on my drawing book, but as long as I wasn’t aware that I was making the wrong sounds, I enjoyed myself. I was focused and determined then I became unstoppable. I won the battle in my heart first then I began to walk my journey through success in teaching myself how to play the piano. I leveraged on every little material available at my disposal. I remember on many occasions I would save my lunch money for weeks to buy books. My biggest miracle came when my uncle bought me a Yamaha Keyboard on my thirteenth birthday, I can’t describe the joy that flooded my soul. I cared so much for my keyboard that I would guard it with my life. My uncle saw my passion and struggle with a clear understanding, he decided to encourage me with the Yamaha keyboard. As the years went by, I have achieved so much, I played in concerts and I have trained a lot of people. I achieved all these because I decided to win and I defeated my limitations.
Alexie used everything around him to his own advantage, he wants the Indian kids to strive for more because they can become something more than Spokane reservation kids. Sherman built himself to become a huge influence on his people and the society at large. Sherman Alexie was successful because he decided to prove everyone wrong Alexie once said, “we were Indian children who were expected to be stupid” (Alexie 2). Anything is possible, once there is will, there is way, sometimes we just need to strive by pressing onward to the mark.
Alexie, Sherman. “Superman and Me.” The Los Angeles Times. 1998, pp. 110-112