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The Strengths and Weaknesses of Superman, the Metaphorical Introvert

Superman has great powers balanced out by debilitating weaknesses. Introverts can look to him as a personification of the strengths and challenges of being an introvert.

Let’s be very clear about one thing: introverts as a segment of humanity are not always shy people. We are no more or no less timid, weak, or defenseless than extroverts. We can be smart, clever, witty, and hardworking. We can even be quite charming and fun in conversation. Our tendencies toward solitude, though they might seem like weaknesses, pose virtually no limitations on our ability to participate in the world. Other qualities possessed by many introverts may actually be a source of great strength and power.

If you are looking for a symbol of strength and power, just think of Superman, survivor of the destruction of the planet Krypton. In the old days, he was outracing bullets, stopping trains, and jumping over skyscrapers. The more powerful versions of Superman can outrace both light and time; bench-press the planet Earth; and withstand a nuclear explosion without a scratch. His mighty abilities come from two sources: Earth’s yellow sun and its lighter gravity (Krypton’s gravity was apparently so powerful that human beings would never be able to get out of bed in the morning; it would be like having a mountain on your chest).

In spite of his mighty powers, there are two things that can turn the man of steel into a man of paper towel. The first weakness is Kryptonite, radioactive remnants of his home planet. It can weaken or kill him after prolonged exposure. His second weakness is magic. He might be able to stop bullets, but your standard magic fireball or lightning bolt would probably turn him into charcoal. Or you could transform him into a newt – that would fix him.

If you really want to get an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of both Superman and the stereotypical introvert, let’s compare them.

Solar power: The Power of Thoughts, Principles, and Ideals

On the surface, it would have made more sense for Superman to have been a tree or a plant than a humanoid organism because he gets so much power from the sun. It’s like he’s covered in invisible solar panels which give him great powers: strength, speed, flight, x-ray vision, heat vision, invulnerability, enhanced senses, and so on. For some reason, our yellow sun provides him with a bucketload of power that he could never get on Krypton. In fact, if he flies away from the Earth towards the sun, he’ll get an even better dose of solar power, making him even stronger.

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  1. Liane Schmidt

    On December 2, 2007 at 11:02 pm


    I really love this article. It was unique, insightful and interesting.

    Best wishes.

    Sincerely,

    -Liane Schmidt.

  2. Mark Dykeman

    On December 3, 2007 at 7:03 pm


    Thanks Liane!

  3. Jessica Rowe

    On December 6, 2007 at 9:51 am


    Very interesting article, I really enjoyed it.

  4. Mark Dykeman

    On December 7, 2007 at 7:02 pm


    Thank you, Jessica

  5. rmillsjonson

    On December 13, 2007 at 9:23 pm


    Very well written, and bordering on prolific (all your contributions). Your introversion is a gift don’t hide it.

    r.mills

  6. Kimberly

    On December 14, 2007 at 5:35 pm


    I like it have you read my artical about Superman hehe?

  7. Mark Dykeman

    On December 15, 2007 at 6:47 am


    rmillsjonson and kimberly, thank you both.

    I’d have to know your last name so I could read your article, Kimberly.

  8. Ivana

    On December 16, 2007 at 7:58 am


    A brilliant article, now I know why I’ve always liked Superman so much :-) )!

  9. Mark Dykeman

    On December 17, 2007 at 6:44 pm


    Thanks Ivana!

  10. Mandy

    On February 11, 2009 at 6:26 am


    i really like it! =)

  11. Jack Mihoff

    On May 20, 2009 at 7:59 pm


    Your A D-Bag

  12. Leonardo da Vinci E.

    On September 10, 2009 at 12:42 pm


    Isn’t it interesting that some of those “core values” you mentioned can actually be picked up when children read comic books like Superman and his quest for there to be justice in the world!

  13. emanuele522

    On January 12, 2010 at 5:15 am


    wow great job, a lot detail.

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