In this paper, I wanted to discuss the short story called “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris. It was a story about his attempts to learn French when he moves to France, to attend school. He describes the frustrations of trying to learn a foreign language, as he is approached by a snarled, rude, non-understanding teacher. Davis Sedaris pushes through this course with drive and determination. This is a story I can relate to on so many different levels. It is about how even though he was scared. He was able to look past his fear to accomplish his goal of speaking French.
My audience for this paper would basically be anyone who has fears and doubts about situations they are going through. Here was someone who moved to a different country, trying to learn a new language. He thought he was all alone, in this crazy teacher’s world, when one day he came in to see everyone huddled together talking a language to each other. People who are attending or moving to different places could also relate to him. For they, would be the “New kid on the block. ” If this group of people, would read this story they would learn how as long as you perservere, they can accomplish anything thrown at them.
In this short story, the part’s that stood out to me was in paragraph 22. Here he talks about how this class has affected his daily life. He could not go out in public for fear of being targeted out. So he kept his talking to a minimum. Then he goes on to paragraph 23 where he tells of not feeling alone. But in paragraph 26 is when he finally realizes that for the first time, he understood everything the teacher has said to him. He then replies back to her and says “you exhaust me with your foolishness and reward my efforts with nothing but pain, do you understand me? That was his triumph! 02/13/2011 Me Talk Pretty One Day Me Talk Pretty one day, is a story about David Sedaris a 41 year old guy that moved to France. He enrolled into a college and began taking a French class with hopes of learning the language. He starts out being very scared and intimidated by everyone around him. Sedaris begins doubting himself because of his lack of confidence. I can relate to his situation. Sedaris watches his fellow students interacting with one another, discussing their vacations and things going on with their lives.
He has a number of impressions at first. They appear much younger (he is 41 yrs old). They are more attractive. All appear to speak French flawlessly. Sedaris feels a little out of his element, until his teacher arrives and makes him and the rest of the class feel like complete imbeciles. As the teacher, walked into class, she proceeded to rattle off announcement and even though, he took a French class back in New York. He only understood half of what she was saying. ‘If you have not meimslsxp or lqpdmurct by this time, then you should not be in this room. I believed that when he wrote the sentence that way. It was a way for us to kind of understand how he felt. Because reading the story in that way confuses us just like the way he was confused. He uses this technique frequently though out the story. His teacher comes off not very personalable. Instead of coming in and welcoming herself. She walks in barking orders and asking, “All right, then, who knows the alphabet? ” In which startles him, for he did take a French class in New York, but yet he did not know the alphabet.
But he knew from the teachers actions she expected everyone to know. So as she sketches the letter A on the board. The instructor wants to know if anyone in the room had a name that starts with that letter and two girls raise their hands. The teacher instructed them to present themselves to the class and list things they liked and disliked. At this time, Sedaris uses some humor when he describes the first Anna. “The first Anna hailed from an industrial town outside of Warsaw and had front teeth the size of tombstones. ” At this point I laughed out loud.
As The first Anna continues with her answer, she states she hates mosquito. At this point Sedaris uses more humor from the teacher’s standpoint when she responds to Anna answer “Oh really, how very interesting. I thought that everyone loved mosquito, but here, in front of the entire world, you claim to detest them. How is it that we’ve been blessed with someone as unique and original as you? Tell us, please. ” Here Sedaris uses what I call insulting humor, where a person asks a question and responds with basically an insult.
Which I think is very intimidating when you’re put on the spot in front of a room of people. The teacher continues insulting the class. Carlos from Argentine, a beautiful Yugoslav woman who said she loves everything that life has to offer. The teacher licked her lips and crouched low for her attack, placed her hands on the woman’s desk and leaned in saying “oh yeah? And do you love your little war? ” This teacher loves running down students. Belittling them, in front of everyone. Finally it was Sedaris turn to answer.
Giving it a lot of thought he delivers and effortless list of things he detested: Blood sausage, intestinal pates, and brain pudding. Then he lists things he likes IBM typewriter, the French word for bruise, and his electric floor waxer. But it wasn’t long before he realized he made a mistake. He mispronounced IBM and assigned the wrong gender to both the floor waxer and the typewriter. The look on the teachers face led him to believe he did the unsuitable. As they left class, everyone believed the worst was over but much to their surprise, it just begun. The teacher was like a wild animal.
Not knowing what she would do, they would proceed with caution around her. For they was frighten, that she may become violent. One day she even told Sedaris that she hated him, really, really, hated him. In which made him very uncomfortable for he took it personally. Which I would too! Sedaris began working 4 hours a night to better him. He wanted to be known as a hard worker. Eventually the insults caught up to him. It began affecting his daily life. “My fears and discomfort crept beyond the borders of the classroom and accompanied me out onto the wide boulevards. He was saying that no matter where he went he was afraid to speak because he did not want to be critized for his speaking. He became quiet and withdrawn.
Thinking he was alone frightened him daily. His only comfort was knowing, he was not alone. Huddled in the hallways, his fellow students and he would engage in a different conversation with each other. Sedaris eventually came to believe that none of them would ever improve. Fall arrived; school was basically like a drag. He tells of a time when the teacher singled him out again saying “everyday spent with you is like having a cesarean section. That’s when he finally realized since the first time since arriving in France, He could understand every word that the teacher could say. That gave him a lot of gratitude knowing he accomplished his task of learning French. He wanted to get the last laugh and prove to the teacher that he could answer her back. “The teacher continued her diatribe and I settled back, bathing in the subtle beauty of each new curse and insult. “You exhaust me with your foolishness and reward my efforts with nothing but pain, do you understand me? ” I liked that he responded to her.
It proved that all his hard work paid off. He then finished saying “I know the thing that you speak exact now. Talk me more, you, plus, please, plus. ” Surprisingly I enjoyed this essay because I could relate to this situation. He took every day trial and turned them into humor. And even though there wasn’t a lot of humor in this short story. I did find myself giggling at certain parts of it. I believe that this story was Sedaris describing that even though he was scared; he was able to look past his fear and do his best to accomplish his goal to speak French.
I’m not sure if the teacher took the correct way of teaching. She was very harsh and military like. I would have probably dropped out of the class if I had someone like her. I believe she liked disrespecting people. It made her feel superior. But in the end, Sedaris had the last laugh. I have read many books. On a scale from one to ten I would rate it a six. It was funny in spots but it was not my type of comedy.
Thelin, William H. WRITING WITHOUT FORMULAS. Ed. Maureen Staudt and Michael Stranz. Mason: Cengage Learning, 2008.