PART 2: KAL-EL
In part one of this series I described Clark as someone who puts on a happy face, while struggling with his identity under the surface. Kal-El is the next part of the story. Kal-El represents the revelation of where we really come from. This is difficult to relate to anyone who has not met their parents later in life, but it is something I can identify with clearly.
When I was 22 years old, I was engaged to my wife, and headed towards the first day of the rest of my life. I was raised by my mom and my step-dad, who were married when I was 2 years old. I had never met, or even seen pictures of, my biological dad. All I knew was what I was told about him, but these stories did nothing to tell me anything about myself. What kind of a man was he? What motivated him? Where was he? Why wasn’t he around? What was he like? Was I like him?
When I finally got the chance to meet him, I was initially angry. I said things like I don’t owe you anything, you’re not my dad, and I called him things like anonymous sperm-donor. However, these were written reactions to receiving a letter from him when I was 19. It wasn’t until I was 22 that my oldest brother told me it I would be a good idea to meet him, and I finally did. I met this idea of a man face-to-face. And this encounter with him, this truth about where I come from, answered questions I didn’t know I had.
Clark was young and different, isolated, and alone. Kal-El was set apart. He was no longer an orphan who was found, but a son who was sent; sent away from death, and given an opportunity to live.
The Kal-El of the Dadhood
In the Dadhood, Kal-El is an idea most men can understand. Once you have a new child for the first time and you experience the influence you have in the life of a new human being, you are changed forever. In an even more profound way than meeting my dad, my kids changed me. It was sudden an lasting. I could see the changed happening with my wife, but I couldn’t understand them. I could be supportive, but I couldn’t empathize. It wasn’t until I held, and kissed, and felt that tiny body in my hands that I understood what I was supposed to do. All of a sudden, the idea of being a dad became real, and I knew what was needed of me.
That is how I would describe Kal-El: a revelation of the truth of who we are, and the power we hold.
Do you agree with how I see this character? Comment below, and comeback for Part 3 (Superman).