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While there's plenty of answers to the question why nobody realizes Clark Kent and Superman are the same person, a question that I haven't seen the answer for yet is why Superman keeps the Clark Kent persona around in the first place. My understanding is that in the olden days Superman was genuinely a mask the man Clark Kent wore, but those roles seem to be reversed with modern interpretations. So why does Clark Kent still exist? Does Superman like journalism so much? Does he just occasionally need a break from superheroing? Does he want a human identity to help him stay grounded?

What exactly is the current canon rationale for this?

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Wow, this is just really really broad. – Valorum Mar 19 at 20:57
    
    
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@Richard I don't see how the presence of multiple different explanations within canon makes this a broad question. – Cubic Mar 19 at 20:59
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up vote 12 down vote accepted
  1. He likes a challenge and being Clark Kent is challenging, which also helps him relate to the people of Earth.

    SUPERMAN: Do you know why I chose to be a writer, Diana? Because writing is difficult. Choosing the words, forming ideas, precision-- it's never easy.

    It's the reason I'm still Clark Kent. Being Clark is hard, the same way ordinary life is hard for billions of people on this planet. - source

  2. He wants an approachable side that people will trust. He also likes his life and family as Clark Kent and would rather keep that a part of his life.

    SUPERMAN: It all started in Smallville. Right in this, room I thought about giving up Clark Kent completely. But i like being Clark Kent. I like who I am and who my parents were. So I came up with the idea of a dual identity.

    I thought about wearing a mask like Bruce does. But as close as we are, Batman's going for something different than I am. I'd rather good people trust me than bad people fear me. I think they need to see your eyes for that. So Clark wears a mask instead of Superman. Here. Try it.

    WONDER WOMAN: You have to be kidding me.

    SUPERMAN: Come on, Diana... - source

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I didn't plan to post them but you might want to spend some time tracking down where they came from and whether the context around them actually fits. – Valorum Mar 19 at 21:30
    
Seems reasonable enough, not too far off from what I'd guessed the answer was gonna be. If anyone wants to add more answers that'd be cool, but this at least provides some explanation. – Cubic Mar 20 at 15:16
    
Think about it this way, how many people in the world have met both Clark AND Superman and are in a position to link the two? I like to think that everyone in the world who has had the opportunity to meet both personas immediately realise a (if not the) connection, but are either too scared of what he might do if they say anything, don't say anything due to global group-think telling them that it can't be possible, or he has 'told them his secret' and so they are allowed to acknowledge it. – Pooli Apr 8 at 9:40
    
Contrary to what Bill says in Kill Bill, Kal-El is neither Clark Kent nor Superman. Both identities have to hide a piece of themselves, hence the need for a Fortress of Solitude, the only place where Kal-El can truly be himself. – John Sensebe May 5 at 16:55
    
Do you know if Superboy had a hidden identity? – Celeritas Jun 9 at 7:36

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