“The myth of Superman asserts with total confidence and a childlike innocence the value of the immigrant in American culture.” Just like so many immigrants came to America in the mid 20th century, Clark was somewhat like an immigrant himself. Clark Kent arrived on a spaceship and landed on earth. He did not know who he was or where he landed. The immigrants were in a completely foreign land. The immigrants were like nomads, never staying in one place for too long.
Superman is the epitome of the American Dream. He can move at lightening speeds. “Superman’s incredible speed allows him to be as close to everywhere at once as it is physically possible to be.” The American need to keep moving suggests the need for adventure.
Clark Kent had to reinvent himself because he did not know who he was or where he came from. He had to make something of himself. Immigrants had to do the same in mid-20th century America. They tried to find work and a home to keep their families on their feet.
Similarly with Clark Kent, Americans had a reality and a fantasy. They lived in reality, which was much less desirable than their yearn to have the ‘American Dream’. The character of Superman and Clark Kent is a duality and is what makes Clark Kent so interesting. The reality is Clark and the fantasy is Superman, with a purpose to save the world.
In the 1930’s we see the emergence of American cartoon characters like Superman with his enormous prominent jaw, a physical feature scarcely seen in any painting or sculpture on earth before that period. Was Superman created to show the idyllic masculine man in mid-20th century America? In the mid-20th century, men went to work and were the breadwinners for their families. They had a lot on their shoulders by being the dominant figure in the family. You could say that a lot of men thought and still think they have to be Superman for their wife. There are even songs written about Superman, even subtly. The Scrubs theme song says, “I’m no Superman.”