Breaking Down Doors, Saving Lives



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Yuhsuan Chin

June 10 2013


Breaking Down Doors, Saving Lives

Even some people are convinced that an IQ test is the most accurate and efficient way to

determine how intelligent a person is, the idea of measuring one’s intelligence through one single test

is still debatable and controversial. However, one of the most common and agreeable way to define

intelligence by society is the ablilty one has to achieve outstanding performance in one particular or

even several different fields in life. Among all the countless writers and poets in the world, Sherman

Alexie is able to publish famous and award-winning novels, while barely attend any writing courses

by every means he is definitely considered intelligent by society, and his intelligence is one the most

elements to his success.

Alexie grew up in an Indian Reservation, even though by society standards they were considered

poor and had lesser resources, Alexie determination and focus on reading allowed him to achieve the

best with what he had, he was smarter, better and faster than other children in the school, whom

mostly were whites and had more resources than he did. The determination and all the readings

played a huge roll to Alexie’s success, as even he hardly had any writing courses he still became a

writer, which definitely showed his unspeakable talent, but intelligence also needs engagement and

focus to be able to truly achieve its limits, Alexie decided to read whenever and wherever he could,

that determination and his ability made him who he is today. Alexie also emphasized the idea of

reading as he repeats the word “read” for fourteen times in one paragraphy. However, in a white

dominant society, Indians were expected to fail and be stupid, Alexie refused. He fought with his

classmates when they demand Alexie to stop proving he is the smartest child in the class by

answering non-Indian teacher’s question fast and correctly. Even at a young age Alexie knew he was

smart, he stood up for not just for himself but his race, he stood up not because he wanted to show

his intelligence off but to fight for an opportunity for himself and his people. He was motivated by

the love towards books, but that love only served one purpose, which was the belief he had about

how to save himself from the world he was in, a world Indians were expected to fail, not just

classrooms but in fail in life.

In Superman and Me, Alexie’s mentioned how he remembered the Superman in the comic book

was breaking down a door, and he pretended the Superman was yelling, ”I’m breaking down the

door.”.Alexie breaks down his own door, the door of inequality, using the power of literacy. As an

Indian he was treated unequally since childhood, the door kept him separated from the world he

wanted to be in, a normal world where everyone is allowed to voice out their opinion and be who

they are, a world where Indians were expected to succeed in life just as much as others. Even Alexie

did breakdown the door, he only broke his own door, he was successful writer whom is intelligent

enough to gain the respect needed to allow other to view him as an exception. However, there are

still tons of doors in the world where not just Indian children, but any children that had being treated

unequally, he wrote, “I throw my weight against their locked doors. The door holds.”. even until



today, Alexie is still trying to break those doors, trying to save those children who is trapped in world

where they were viewed less of a person, just like how he was trapped behind that locked door.


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