Literature Study GuidesTwilight Of The Superheroes

Twilight of the Superheroes | Study Guide

Deborah Eisenberg

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Course Hero. (2018, February 24). Twilight of the Superheroes Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 6, 2020, from

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Course Hero. "Twilight of the Superheroes Study Guide." February 24, 2018. Accessed July 6, 2020.


Course Hero, "Twilight of the Superheroes Study Guide," February 24, 2018, accessed July 6, 2020,


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Deborah Eisenberg

Year Published



Short Stories


Drama, Fiction

At a Glance

Twilight of the Superheroes is Deborah Eisenberg's fourth collection of short stories. Like her other books, Twilight of the Superheroes has been routinely hailed as a masterpiece for her explorations of the human psyche via tightly crafted prose. This collection is also singled out for being one of the first—and best—portrayals of American life after September 11, 2001. Eisenberg's stories never mention that day by name, but all her characters are affected by its events years down the line.

Perspective and Narrator

Four of the six short stories in Twilight of the Superheroes have third-person narrators who focus on the limited perspective of one or two main characters. The book's last two texts, "Revenge of the Dinosaurs" and "The Flaw in the Design" have first-person narrators. These two stories are Deborah Eisenberg's first published pieces to use first-person narration since her first collection, Transactions of a Foreign Currency (1986), which was written entirely in the first person.


"Twilight of the Superheroes," "Window," and "The Flaw in the Design" are written in the present tense. "Some Other, Better Otto," "Like It or Not," and "Revenge of the Dinosaurs" are written in the past tense.

About the Title

"Twilight of the Superheroes" is the first story in the collection of the same name. One of its main characters, Nathaniel, moonlights as a comic strip artist for free midwestern newspapers. The comic's hero is Passivityman, who fights global ambition and greed. Following the events of September 11, 2001, Passivityman finds himself unable to care about anything. He is losing his superpowers, just as Nathaniel and his roommates no longer have the "super" characteristics of their idealistic youth. As a collection, Twilight of the Superheroes is about people confronted with the waning of the best years of their lives.


This study guide and infographic for Deborah Eisenberg's Twilight of the Superheroes offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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