Rhetorical Reading Response “Superman & Me” Essay

In the personal anecdote, “Superman and Me”, it is explained how the author, Sherman Alexie, taught himself how to read from a Superman comic book. He starts off by giving his background about how he grew up poor in a struggling household and on a Native American Reserve. His explanations for being so eager to read was that his father admired reading. So, at the age of three he set out to learn to read by connecting the dialogue and pictures of the comic. This experience he had had did not only teach him how to read but also saved his life. Soon he begins reading any and everything he could get his hands on. He then grew up to be a great writer and an intelligent man who goes to other minority schools to encourage kids to read more. This makes a well written debate on how reading can impact you in such ways that can save your life.

I found this personal anecdote being very amusing and humorous while the theme quite serious. The theme being about reading and the process of learning to read can be uninteresting but with his humorous remarks and great story telling skills it was enjoyable. When he started his story off with just saying that he learned from a Superman comic book I thought it would be an immature and funny piece of writing, but Alexie gave great details throughout his story to help me as the reader truly understand his passion for reading. It also gave me insight into the Spokane Indian culture on how they were treated and were thought to be stupid.

Reading has always been told to be the root to intelligence and success in many of ways and Alexie used his own way to convey this message He used his personal anecdotes about how he learned to read from a collection of Superman comics he received from his father. It was ironic using a comic to teach himself how to read and then become a great writer astonished the reader and they began to have an extensive respect for him which helped Alexie transition into his main idea; reading is an important attribute to success despite any obstacles. He got this point across by repeating how reading was accredited to “saving my [his] life.”

Being of Spokane Indian he continues to tell his experiences of being branded to be an “Indian who expected to be stupid” and counter argued by being the child to read “anything that had words and paragraphs” while also telling himself “I refused to fail. I was smart…arrogant…lucky.” Alexie’s successful use of anecdotes made it easier for the reader to relate to his point and have an emotional appeal to his essay while being persuade of the importance of reading. Alexie’s use of personal anecdotes fortifies the impact he has on his audience. Alexie’s personal anecdotes create a connection with his audience that allows him to further captivate them. One anecdote that Alexie includes is about how he learned to read from a comic book. This anecdote evokes sympathy and amazement from the reader. These emotions are inspired by the anecdote because he becomes successful despite his depressing situation. He does not have any of the educational resources that white children have when they are learning to read, but he uses his minimal resources and becomes a successful writer. His depressing situation causes people to feel sympathy for him.

The irony in the fact that he used a comic book to learn how to read and then he became a successful writer amazes the reader and the reader develops a deeper respect for him. Alexie’s effective use of anecdotes inspires me to use them in my own writing. I would use them to supplement my writing in the same way that Alexie does; I would use them if I wanted to connect with my reader and evoke certain emotions from them. Anecdotes are a very simple, efficient way to elicit a variety emotions from your audience.

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