Me Talk Pretty One Day

by David Sedaris
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Evaluate the author's claim in Me Talk Pretty One Day. Is the claim strong or weak? What evidence or key points from the writing best support the author's claim?

The essays in Me Talk Pretty One Day examine the challenges involved in growing up and feeling like an outsider. In the story the collection is named after, Sedaris claims that although learning a new skill as an adult can be a tumultuous process, it is ultimately rewarding. When evaluating the claim, consider if you think Sedaris made it clearly or if it is hard to identify.

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David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of different essays, which makes it difficult to identify one specific claim. However, one might discuss how many of them deal with growing up and suggest that it is difficult to find a place where you truly fit in....

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David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of different essays, which makes it difficult to identify one specific claim. However, one might discuss how many of them deal with growing up and suggest that it is difficult to find a place where you truly fit in. For instance, in the essay “Go Carolina,” Sedaris recounts his struggles with a lisp as a child, and in “The Learning Curve,” he recounts feeling unqualified for his first job out of college. These stories both show what it’s like to feel like an outsider and how to cope with the challenges that accompany that feeling.

In the story that the book is named after, Sedaris focuses on the importance of language in social connection. He recounts that although his homosexuality was more accepted in France, he struggled to learn the French language. In this story, he shows readers how language barriers can bring attention to cultural differences and complicate intercultural communication. Consider what he realizes when he finally begins to understand some French:

Understanding doesn’t mean that you can suddenly speak the language. Far from it. It’s a small step, nothing more, yet its rewards are intoxicating and deceptive.

The words “intoxicating and deceptive” suggest that understanding the language can be satisfying and motivating, yet trick one into being too confident. This experience shows that the process of learning a new skill is quite challenging, especially as an adult. However, note that he says “the world opened up” when he began to understand French. This suggests that although learning a new skill as an outsider can be a tumultuous process, it is is ultimately a powerful and rewarding experience.

When evaluating Sedaris’s claim, consider whether or not you were easily able to identify it. If you were, you can probably identify several pieces of evidence that prove it is a strong claim. For example, you might point to the quote about the world opening up to prove that it was a strong claim. However, if you found the claim difficult to identify, or if you find it to be a bit confusing or contradictory, you might argue that it is a weak claim.

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