Superman: The Man of Steel vs. Captain Dew Drop

Today we were working on a play called “The Hitchhiker”.  It’s a play about a man named Adams who, while on a cross-country road trip, repeatedly runs into a mysterious hitchhiker.  We were talking about how the Adams fell asleep while driving across the Brooklyn Bridge, and crashed his car killing himself and the mysterious hitchhiker.

A couple of students were confused because they couldn’t understand how hitting someone with a car would be fatal to the driver. They didn’t realize that the driver died because he crashed into the bridge itself, and just happened to also hit the hitchhiker. While trying to piece the event of the story together, the following conversation ensued:

Student 1: I don’t think just hitting a man on the side of the road would kill the driver.

Student 2: Unless the guy you hit was Superman. Then he would totally smash your car up.

Student 1: That’s true. But wait. If Superman is made of steel, and your car is made of steel, what would happen to Superman if you hit him?  Wouldn’t they both get crushed?

Student 2: Superman wouldn’t get crushed. He’s Superman. He can’t get crushed.

Student 1: But he’s steel just like you car. They call him “Superman, The Man of Steel”.

Student 2: But he’s super. He’s Super-Man.

Student 1: He’s called Superman, but he’s made of steel-  hey Miss Lewis, don’t they call Superman the “Man of Steel”?

Me: Yes, but he’s not really made of steel.  He’s super strong, and bulletproof like steel.

Student 2: So what would happen if you hit him with your car?

Me: Your car would hit Superman, and get all smashed in where he was standing. He’s super. You have to remember that Superman was made in the 1930’s and the strongest material around was steel so they called him “The Man of Steel” to represent how strong he was.

Student 1: That’s true. Today he’d be like “The Man of Titanium Alloy” or something.

Student 3: Well that’s like Iron Man, but he’s not a super hero, he’s just some rich dude.

Student 4: Like Batman. He’s just a rich dude with a cool car.

Me: I know right? People always fight me on that.

Student 1: Well Spiderman is a real super hero, but he’s kind of stupid. He shoots webs. Big deal.

Me: Don’t even get me started on Spiderman.

Student 5: Diamonds! Why didn’t they compare Superman to diamonds? They’re like highly indestructible. It takes so much to crush a diamond.

Me: True, but if you were to create a super hero, and you wanted him to be strong and really masculine, would you rather associate him with a metal like steel? or gems like diamonds?

Student 5: I guess that’s true.

Student 2: Oh my God. Can you imagine? That would be terrible.  He would just sparkle all the time.

Student 3: He would be like Edward. Oh how lame. He would blind you with his super sparkling diamond skin.

Me: See why steel is a better choice? Otherwise he would be known as “Superman, the Man that Glistens”… or “Captain Dew Drop”.

Student 1: Okay, now you’re lame.

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>Holy American Classic Novelist Batman!

>Today I introduced the vocabulary words for our next short story, taken from Mark Twain’s memoir, “Roughing It.” I explained how Mark Twain was a famous American author who wrote classic novels including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I reminded students that Mark Twain lived before television and internet, and how in those days, people had to read the newspaper to learn about what was going on in the world.

We proceeded to use our vocabulary words to complete the following sentences about Mark Twain:

As a young man, Mark Twain held a wide array of jobs.

Twain claims to have taken news stories and made them more sensational.

Twain preferred to earn his livelihood as a writer that as a miner.

It was more tolerable to write about hay than to work in a coal mine.

…At this point a student raises his hand…

Student: “So did Mark Twain do all of this before he decided to be Batman?”

Me: “Like I said, Mark Twain was a writer. You’re thinking of Bruce Wayne.”