Me Talk Pretty One Day Questions and Answers
by David Sedaris

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How does David Sedaris establish a humorous tone in the first two paragraphs of Me Talk Pretty One Day? What details contribute to this tone?

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American humor writer David Sedaris opens his essay collection Me Talk Pretty One Day with his first day returning to school as a forty-one-year old student at a French language immersion school in Paris. Right away, he establishes a humorous tone by emphasizing that he truly is a fish out of water.

In the first paragraph, Sedaris notes that according to the French textbook, he is “a true debutant.” In order to get into the spirit of that label, he wryly notes that he’s trying to think of himself as a debutante. Of course, he definitely is not one; instead of being an aristocratic young lady donning a long white gown to enter high society, he’s a middle-aged man brandishing a student ID to enter an urban school. His student ID affords him privileges, like discounted entry into the movies; unfortunately, most of his privileges seem wildly inappropriate for a grown man and designed for a kid, like the discounts to see puppet shows and frolic at an amusement park appropriately named...

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