Self-Doubt In Sherman Alexie's Superman And Me

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In “Superman and Me,” Sherman Alexie reveals in a short autobiography how he overcame his self-doubt as an Indian boy - through literature. Despite his status as a minority, Alexie, with his passion for books, surpassed his stereotypical expectations. Although he displayed a heightened sense of intelligence, he refused to praise himself for it. This derived from the societal views of the Indian population that claimed they did not meet the same standards as the white majority. By using diction, repetition, juxtaposition, and autobiographical aspects such as a reflective tone, emotive language, and a recount of memories, Sherman Alexie proved otherwise and accomplishes a captivating account of his defeating self-doubt. To further magnify this…show more content…
By repeating “Indian boy” several times, he clarifies how important his label was in contributing to his insecurity. The second time he uses this phrase, he belittles himself, insisting “if he'd been anything but an ‘Indian boy’ living on the reservation, he ‘might’ have been called a prodigy.” He once again uses the modal verb “might” to describe his uncertainty, this time of his character not his race. The third time he uses this phrase he emphasizes his alternate identity to his judgmental audience. By also using the conjunction “but”, he creates a wall between the words “prodigy” and “Indian boy”; this wall evokes the impossibility of an Indian boy becoming a prodigy but the likeliness of him being “simply an oddity”. This is similar to the repetition of “but” in the following paragraph where Alexie describes an Indian’s character in society versus with family. “Most lived up to those expectations….slug it out with the bully who was 10 years older” (49) builds a detailed image in the reader’s imagination, so detailed, in fact, it is intended to prove the reality of the Indian children and their situation that claimed “as Indian children, [they] were expected to fail in the non-Indian world.” (49) This expectation motivated Sherman Alexie to make his predecessors proud and prove his non-Indian adversaries

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