A Rhetorical Analysis of Superman Essay

A Rhetorical Analysis of Superman Essay

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Since the late 1930s, Superman has been a pop culture icon in American history. As a comic book super hero, Superman has been a “symbol of hope to a struggling nation” (Look Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman) throughout American history. Based on the criteria identified by Jencks who states, “Not only does a rhetorical object express the values. . . ideologies, hopes, fears, religion, [and] social structure,” (qtd. in Burgchardt 608) Superman is clearly an example of a rhetorical object.
As a rhetorical object Superman shares the values and ideologies of the American culture. The character’s strength, humility, and tolerance when acting as both Clark Kent and Superman show his integrity. Although Superman has god like powers he only uses them for the greater good. Superman is a warrior with immense powers like that of Hercules, but unlike the mythological god he is without faults. Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego, is a simple journalist who blends in with the crowd. Superman’s ability to live among humans as one of them shows his compassion for a planet that is not his own.
In the movie Superman and the Mole Men, Superman protects a group of harmless aliens from humans. It’s eye opening in a sense that Superman is the defender of all, no matter the species, which makes Superman a symbol of equality for all. In radio broadcasts Superman fought against the KKK and other hateful groups. This brought attention to real life events in America, and the social movement taking place.
During stressful times throughout American history Superman was portrayed as the ever-helpful super hero from afar. Although not in the front and center of the war, Superman advertised and supported the sale of war...


... middle of paper ...


...t in today’s society.
As Superman’s popularity grew during hard times for the country, he became apart of the history of America, and faced the same evils that the real world faced. Superman is the paradigm of the American dream. Coming from another planet, and settling in America, he is the “ultimate embodiment of the American dream, proof that an immigrant can come to a new land and prevail” (Look Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman) Superman, although fiction, was apart of the Great Depression, WWII, The Women’s Movement, and more historical events in The United States as he will continue to be throughout history.



Works Cited

Burgchardt, Carl. Readings in Rhetorical Criticism. 3rd ed. State College: Strata Publishing, 2005. Print.
Look Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman. Dir. Kevin Burns. Warner Home
Video, Inc. 2006. DVD.

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