Jasper Jones

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Batman versus Superman Symbol Analysis

Batman versus Superman Symbol Icon
At several points in Jasper Jones, Charlie Bucktin tries to convince Jeffrey Lu that Batman is superior to Superman. He argues that although Superman is stronger, faster, and generally invincible, Batman’s lack of superpowers actually makes him more, not less impressive. Because Batman is mortal, he requires tremendous bravery and drive to continue fighting crime—Superman’s adventures, on the other hand, have no stakes, since he’s always stronger than his opponents. Silvey makes the symbolism of this exchange very clear. Charlie’s fears and insecurities, like Batman’s, don’t disqualify him from acts of heroism—on the contrary, they make these acts even more impressive. By the end of the book, Charlie has concluded that he shouldn’t try to eliminate his fears, but instead he should learn to accept them and live with them, recognizing that they’re a crucial part of his character.

Batman versus Superman Quotes in Jasper Jones

The Jasper Jones quotes below all refer to the symbol of Batman versus Superman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fear Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Ember edition of Jasper Jones published in 2012.
Chapter 2 Quotes

He doesn’t need superpowers. That’s my point. You’re an idiot. He can hold his own. He has an alter ego. He has a costume. He fights for Truth and Justice. He has arch enemies. And he does all this without any weird mutations. He’s just really determined. That’s what makes him interesting. The fact that with enough dedication and desire, we could all be Batman. Batmen. Batpeople. And that’s what makes him the best.

Related Characters: Charlie Bucktin (speaker), Jeffrey Lu
Related Symbols: Batman versus Superman
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quotation, Charlie and Jeffrey have a strange, trivial-sounding conversation about the differences between Batman and Superman—a conversation that ends up being more thematically important than it seemed at first. Jeffrey argues that Superman is the superior hero: he’s stronger than Batman, faster, can fly, etc. Charlie makes the interesting argument that while Batman is physically weaker than Superman, and has no superpowers, his humanity makes him the braver, more heroic person. Superman has very little to fear—he knows he’s essentially invincible. Batman, on the other hand, faces his fear every day. He’s learned to embrace fear and move past it—a kind of heroism Charlie admires more than brute strength or speed.

Charlie’s argument reinforces one of the key themes of the book—overcoming one’s fear. Charlie deals with a series of frightening and intimidating situations. Gradually, he comes to accept that bravery isn’t the opposite of fear at all: true bravery involves first facing fear, then summoning the willpower to continue on.

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Batman versus Superman Symbol Timeline in Jasper Jones

The timeline below shows where the symbol Batman versus Superman appears in Jasper Jones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...Jeffrey good-naturedly insults Charlie by calling him an idiot and a Communist. Charlie argues that Batman is the best superhero—despite the fact that he has no superpowers, he is highly intelligent,... (full context)
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...live there: bees, wasps, hornets, and more. Jeffrey and Charlie joke with each other about Batman and bees, and then part ways. Charlie notices that Jeffrey’s father yells something angry and... (full context)
Chapter 7
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...back—they need to project confidence. Charlie sees how false Jasper’s confidence is—it’s as superficial as Batman’s cape. Nevertheless, he follows Jasper to the front of the building. (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...have to learn how to “carry fear” and live with fear. Charlie remembers talking about Batman with Jeffrey—much like Bruce Wayne, people have to learn to achieve things while also struggling... (full context)