Narrative Perspective: Superman

Comic books are one form of entertainment that provide thrill and excitement of superheroes to many young boys and teens. They distinct what is “good” (hero) and what is “bad” (villain). One influential pop culture fictional superhero is Superman.  The character and his adventures portray the ideals of the right values vs. the wrong values in a western society for all young boys and men.

The character of Superman is not just one person, but is of two different types of character archetypes: Superman, an alien sent to earth from the planet Krypton, and his secret identity Clark Kent, an average reporter working at the Daily Planet. Superman is a physically built which gives young men something to aspire to become, and comes from a distant planet where the inhabitants look similar to humans, but are more advanced which gives him some connection to humans, yet is gifted and “god-like” to the people of earth. Superman’s planet, Krypton, was doomed to explode, and his father who was a scientist designed a rocket to send him to earth, which represents in a way someone coming from the old world and into the new world. This also relates to the fact that the character was created during WWII when immigrants were coming to America. Powered by the earth’s yellow sun, superman is given abilities that far surpass those of mortal man, using his gifts to fight for truth and justice, bringing criminals to justice, sending them to jail. Superman wears a distinctive uniform with the “S-shield” on his chest distinguishing his significance in the world. His only weakness is Kryptonite, a radioactive rock from his own planet that affects those who are from Krypton, reminder of his “humanity.”

Superman’s secret identity, Clark Kent, represents the good in humankind and how he does the “right” thing to help others. Clark was raised by John and Martha Kent, as a farm boy from Smallville, Kansas. This origin tells the viewer that Clark was raised with wholesome values when raised on a farm. When he got older, he decided to move to the city of Metropolis where he would become a reporter for the Daily Planet, and get top stories that tell people the truth in order for the betterment of mankind. Clark is has good intentions, is bright yet is very clumsy, and having a crush on his co-worker, Lois Lane, which he could never express his feelings for her because she is more interested in Superman. This tells the audience that all humans are not as perfect as Superman.

The setting for Superman, Metropolis, and the actions that take place in that setting define the morals and the consequences of those morals of the story. The city of Metropolis is a very clean, bright, state-of-the-art city, which thanks to the actions of Superman, continues to be a thriving civilization, telling the viewer that doing good makes a better environment. The events that are mostly taken place in Metropolis are crimes that are being committed by criminals, gangs and super-villains such as CEO Lex Luthor. This leads Superman to fight enemies which for the most part leads to some destruction, yet the people of Metropolis are grateful even though he has caused some destruction. Superman is also for the most part saving Lois Lane from danger when she tries to get a story but eventually becomes helpless in these kinds of situations, which tells the audience that women are helpless and need the help of men.

Superman’s character is genuine for inspiring young boys and teens of the western society to have “good” values by helping out their fellow-men and that there is a perfect male figure that must be maintained by the young men that follow the character. This is one pop culture artifact that will stand the tests of time to give people something to aspire to or hope for to have in the distant future.

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One thought on “Narrative Perspective: Superman

  1. Blog Feedback for Narrative Perspective: Superman by Chris T
    Adam King (UWID: 20417170)
    Instructor: Jen Doyle
    24 January 2012
    Brief Summary of the Analysis: The brief summary of the analysis is a great start to introduce the, who and what aspects of the blog. Overall it gives the reader a brief introduction of what they will read later on in the post establishing all the components of the analysis.
    Introduce ideas for improvement: The opening sentence I would consider revising the grammar, for example, instead of saying “Comic books are one form of entertainment that provide thrill and excitement of superheroes to many young boys and teens”, perhaps say “Comic books are one form of entertainment that provide thrill and excitement by introducing superheroes to young boys and teens”.
    Most Successful Arguments: In my opinion the example of Superman coming to Earth from his home planet Krypton is the best narrative argument. Superman’s journey from his planet to Earth represents an “active event”. The second best argument that is presented within the blog comes from Superman’s physical attributes that give boys “something to aspire to become”. This is the perfect example of fidelity, since Superman’s physical abilities ring true with our values (putting physical strength as a high priority for males).
    Least Successful Arguments: For the example of Superman’s symbol and its significance, I was unclear as to how it signified his importance to the world. I understand it is a rhetorical device as a symbol but its importance was unclear. Other than symbolizing the heroes name what more importance does it have? The second least successful argument I found was Superman’s move from Kansas to Metropolis. Within the narrative analysis component temporal relations, it is unclear as to how and why Clark Kent/ Superman made the move, as it does not seem being raised on a farm leads naturally to moving to a large city.
    Improving the Least Successful Arguments: As a constructive piece of criticism I would suggest elaborating on the importance of the S symbol, for example you could provide the origins of the symbol in its own context and how that relates to the themes of Superman. Also you may consider what that symbol may mean to an actual Superman fan. Secondly I would suggest you give a brief narrative as to how, why, and when Clark Kent moved to Metropolis and became Superman. Perhaps there are morals that Clark Kent is trying to convey by making his move (symbolic of intelligence, a chance of a better life, to do good in the world).
    Further Advancing the Most Successful Argument: Perhaps by going in to detail of Superman’s journey you could argue how it is a direct example of an active event and explain its importance to the storyline. You could try to provide narrative analysis terms in order for the reader to understand completely what you are trying to point out with his journey. I would perhaps consider elaborating on the morals conveyed by Superman’s physical stature. Saying that he aspires to boys is good but expanding on cultural values this argument can be strengthened.
    Clear Transitions Between Ideas and Paragraphs: The transitions are well done and each new paragraph is introduced very well so the reader knows the importance of what he/she is going to read next.
    Grammar and Style: Perhaps consider proof reading your blog in order to correct grammar and spelling errors. “Superman is a physically built” should say “Superman is physically built”. “Clark is has good intentions, is bright yet is very clumsy, and having a crush on his co-worker” perhaps consider revising to say “Clark has good intentions and is very bright, yet being clumsy makes it difficult to express his feelings (active/static event) for his co-worker crush, Louis Lane.

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