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    The Importance of Education and Reading for Minority Children

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    In his article “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me,” author Sherman Alexie, argues that education and reading is crucial for minority children, because of his Spokane Indian Ethnicity and his experiences through school. The article begins with Alexie reminiscing on his childhood, his father’s love of books, and how Alexie taught himself to read from a Superman comic book. He mentions the importance of the paragraph, and how one is able to look at the world as just segments of paragraphs.

    In the passage he states “I didn’t have the vocabulary to say “paragraph,” but I realized that a paragraph was a fence that held words. The words inside a paragraph worked together for a common purpose.” This part of the passage is important because this is where the reader first sees Alexie’s insight on how writing works along with the world, and how smart of a kid he really was. Sherman Alexie then goes on to talk about paragraphs and how he can sort his family into a multitude of paragraphs.

    This part of the article makes the reader think more into the world and themselves. There is an infinite amount of paragraphs, even within just one person. The story goes on to show how Alexie learned to put pictures in a Superman comic book, to words describing the actions of the characters. The reader is able to get an inside look into how Alexie’s mind worked when he was young and also how he became such a knowledgeable reader and writer. He touches on his years in school and explains how him being smart was dangerous, inferring racism towards Indians.

    “A smart Indian is a dangerous person, widely feared and ridiculed by Indians and non-Indians alike,” he writes, showing that back then Indians were not a respected race. In his school no one expected Indians to be smart or have a desire to excel academically. Sherman Alexie was the change in this stereotype. He explains how he refused to fail and how he read whatever he had access to. Alexie adds to the piece by telling the reader that he was actually surprised he became a writer, and expected to be a pediatrician.

    Finally, Sherman Alexie comes to a finish, writing that he now visits the classrooms of Indian children. He tells them to keep reading, even though they may not want to. Alexie repeats over and over again, the word “Books,” and touches on how he is “trying to save our lives.” The reader finishes the piece and sees how Sherman Alexie has come full circle; starting out a young boy who didn’t know how to read, to becoming an extremely smart student, then writer, and finishes off with visiting his old classrooms, preaching to students the importance of reading.

    Throughout Sherman Alexie’s life, he has been torn down and faced racism. This didn’t stop him from pursuing something he was passionate about and becoming a very successful writer. In his piece “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me,” he argues how education and reading are important for the minority youth. The structure of the article gives the reader a background of Alexie’s childhood and then a focus on his school life when he was a boy.

    The symbols at the bottom of page two, separate these two times in Alexie’s life and allow the reader to focus on each, framing each part of the story. Alexie describes the world and his life as paragraphs, making the reader think in paragraphs and how each child in the classroom that Alexie also describes, has its own paragraph. Alexie talking about his father’s love for books, gives the reader a look into Sherman Alexie’s influence and shows where his love and respect for reading came from. When Alexie is talking about his schooling, he touches on how Indian people aren’t “supposed” to be smart.

    This contributes to his argument by letting the reader see how he faced racism throughout his schooling, but used it as motivation to do better and keep learning. Alexie states, “I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky.” This line lets the reader see his determination to be smart and to prove the people who believed in the stereo types wrong. He also repeats a line similar to the previous one, at the end of the piece. The repetition of this line emphasizes Alexie’s belief that minority children need to work hard and get a good education.

    Another line that stands out in the passage is, “I was trying to save my life.” Alexie says this at the end of the second to last paragraph, and again a similar line at the very end of the piece. This line is very important, because it sticks out from the rest of piece. Sherman Alexie kept pursuing his education and love for reading so he could be successful, and show the people who didn’t believe in him that he was more than just his ethnicity. He saved his own life from being placed in the Indian stereo type. With him coming back and teaching to the Indian children the importance of reading and education, he was saving their lives. He was letting the kids know just how important reading was, and how important it was to keep reading.

    Sherman Alexie believed in his race. Throughout his article, one can see that he had faith in the Indian children, and he had faith in himself when he was a child. There will always be people who doubt, and there will always be labels and stereo types. With determination and an education, anyone can overcome the stereo types and labels, even the kids.

    Works Cited

    • May, Cactus, Talitha May, and Mara Holt, eds. Readings on Writing. Third ed. Cincinnati: Van-Griner, 2017. Print. Ohio University Composition Program.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    The Importance of Education and Reading for Minority Children. (2022, Dec 21). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-importance-of-education-and-reading-for-minority-children/

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