In his article, David Sedaris (2000) conveys his vivid experience with learning the French language being an adult. The author claims that learning something new is difficult and challenging regardless of one’s age, origin, or general knowledge. The writer wants to teach his audience to appreciate the experience as it is and see life’s lessons as a bigger picture. A new key point that has been identified in the article is Sedaris’ (2000) inspirational rendition of his challenging experience in learning, which he accomplishes by laughing at himself and ridiculing the whole situation. In such a manner, the author sends the message to his readers to rise above the overwhelming burden of life’s obstacles and use humor as a tool that allows for maintaining a positive spirit and motivation.
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The author’s target audience includes people who are at the beginning of learning something new and who might face significant obstacles in acquiring new knowledge, especially in learning a foreign language. In an attempt to connect with the audience, Sedaris (2000) builds his narrative from his experience as an average French-learning student. Using a self-deprecating and sarcastic humoristic style, the author presents himself as a person who does not understand much of the teacher’s speaking but strives to overcome shame and difficulties to eventually “talk pretty” (Sedaris, 2000, p. 170). He includes scrambling words, such as “meimslsxp” or “apzkiubjxow” to connect with the readers who also do not speak French and for whom, like for him, the teacher’s French words sound like nonsense (Sedaris, 2000, p. 166). Such an appealing choice of narration allows the author to connect with the readers and help them relate to the story.
Overall, the author’s claim is strong, which is proven by the story’s plot, the choice of linguistic devices, and the first-person perspective of the narrative. Although Sedaris (2000) does not explicitly state the message, it is implied in how he delivers the story and combines hyperbolized descriptions with humor. Since it is a first-person narration, the first-hand experience is relatable and allows for learning from the author’s struggling and eventual success in understanding French. The exaggeration of the fear that accompanies the teacher’s style helps the author emphasize the ultimate success, which is often achieved through hardships.
Sedaris, D. (2000). Me talk pretty one day. In Me talk pretty one day (pp. 166-173). Little, Brown, and Company.