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Rhetorical Analysis of Sherman Alexie's "superman and Me"

Autor:   •  December 12, 2012  •  Case Study  •  813 Words (4 Pages)  •  6,354 Views

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Mrs. Smith

AP English 3

October 15, 2012

Rhetorical Analysis of Sherman Alexie's 'Superman and Me'

Learning to read is one of those childhood moments that one doesn't forget. Books and reading

impact our lives in so many ways. Mark Twain said that “Books are for people who wish they were

somewhere else.” This is very true for Sherman Alexie who is an American Indian and was living on a

reservation during the time that he learned to read. In 'Superman and Me' by Sherman Alexie, he uses

appeals to ethos, metaphors, and parallelism to reveal his love for books and how that love can “save

our lives.”

Alexie begins his essay by appealing to the audience by explaining a little bit about his

childhood and that his family was “living.. on the Spokane Indian Reservation... We were poor by

most standards” but that “one of my parents usually managed to find some minimum-wage job or

another.” That appeal to ethos gains the trust of the audience by letting them know that he did have a

hard life. The same paragraph ends with a zeugma telling the audience that his family “lived on a

combination of irregular paychecks, hope, fear, and government surplus food.” in an attempt to create

an emotional connection to the audience. In the second paragraph, he also appeals to ethos by

explaining that his father went to school and was an “avid reader.” His father loved books and “because

he [I] loved his father with an aching devotion, he [I] decided to love books as well.” This begins his

love for books that will impact the rest of his life.

Alexie continues in the third paragraph with an extended metaphor describing to the audience

the moment that he realized a “paragraph was a fence that held words.” and how he began to “think of

everything in terms of paragraphs.” The metaphor encompasses the effect that reading had on him as a



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