In “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me”, Sherman Alexie claims that it was solely reading and knowledge that saved his life. As a poor Indian child who lived with his family on a reservation in Washington, he rose above the rest and excelled in his “homemade” education. “My father loved books, and since I loved my father with an aching devotion, I decided to love book as well”. His love for his father transcended into his love for books, both relationships being strong and vital to Alexies’ life. His work is meant to evoke sadness, but through humor and pop culture references, he communicates successfully to many audiences, Indian and Non-Indian alike.
Through personal experience, the narrator aims to write towards others who are struggling to find themselves. In order to separate himself from the memories and pain of his childhood where all Indians were expected to be stupid, he talks in third person. For example “I am smart, I am arrogant, I am lucky.” Alexie’s purpose is to empower everyone to learn to read and write. He yearns for others to become more than and surpass the standards that are set for and by them. More specifically, Alexie wants young Indian children to read. He knows personally how it feels to be in their spot. He understands that the “already defeated Indian kids who sit in the back row” are trying to save their lives, but don’t know how or where find solace. In this piece, Alexie desperately tries to tell them that the
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answer is simply one word. “Books.” He is frustrated that the answer is right in front of their wide, curious, knowledge thirsted eyes, but they lack motivation. “The pages of their notebooks are empty. They carry neither pencil nor pen. They stare out the window. They refuse and resist.” Despite Alexie’s efforts, often these children don’t change. Their lives were not saved.
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