Sherman Alexie Questions and Answers

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What are the writing styles Sherman Alexie uses in the essay "Superman and Me"?

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Sherman Alexie's essay "Superman and Me" is primarily written in the narrative style. The narrative style of writing is used to tell a story. Sherman Alexie is a self-proclaimed storyteller. In an interview with WNYC, Alexie explains,

Now in this storytelling life of mine, I’m a nomad. I’m an old-school storyteller wandering the Earth.

Typically, narrative pieces are novels, poetry, biographies, and short stories. In this particular case, "Superman and Me" can be thought of as both a short story and an essay. In "Superman and Me," Alexie describes himself as a storyteller, again saying,

These days, I write novels, short stories, and poems.

Alexie also describes "Superman and Me" as a story in the essay. He says,

This might be an interesting story all by itself. A little Indian boy teaches himself to read at an early age and advances quickly.

Narrative writing is not simply facts; it uses information to construct characters, conflict, and setting. In "Superman and Me," Alexie writes from the point of view of the main character, presumably telling a story about himself. Alexie builds his character and setting by explaining a bit about his own upbringing and background. He says,

What I can remember is this: I was 3 years old, a Spokane Indian boy living with his family on the Spokane Indian Reservation in eastern Washington state.

Finally, the conflict in the story is around the education of Native Americans and the power writing has to transform communities. Alexie uses a story about himself as a young boy reading a Superman comic to explain how he came to be a writer and how he inspires other young Native boys to tell their truths.