David Sedariss Short Story "Me Talk Pretty One Day"

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    Sep 30, 2012
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The underlying motif in the short story is that understanding and speaking do not go hand in hand. The students in the class are not fluent in French, and their sentences, when translated, sound very funny and incomprehensible. These sentences are often repeated in the story. Without the ability to use French, a foreigner will in most cases not even be able to order food. The author talks about how this class affected his daily life. He could not go out in public for fear of being targeted out. So he kept his talking to minimum.

David Sedaris describes certain moments of intense cruelty of a dictator-like French teacher who made all the students feel like complete idiots. Even a reader has the impression that the students are not very intelligent. However, this is the exact way a student of a foreign language would speak. This is the point the author was trying to make through the entire story. It illuminates the difference between speaking a language so that others could understand you, and understanding the language.

This short story is very readable, original and honest.  While I was reading it, I was feeling  like I was sitting in this classroom with the author.. His style is effortless and I think that he was just being himself on paper. The story is very informative as well. He writes about insecurities we all have at one point or another, while learning a new language. Now, we can read about his insecurities. Here is someone who moved to a different country, trying to learn new language. He thought he was all alone. But one day he came in to see everyone huddled together speaking French.

This story tells me that as long as they persevere, people can accomplish anything thrown at them. When he finally realizes that for the first time he understood everything the teacher had said to him, he was thrilled. That was his triumph.

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