Me Talk Pretty One Day

by David Sedaris
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In Me Talk Pretty One Day, how does an author connect with his audience by sharing his experience? In what ways would he incorporate his personal experience to draw his reader in?

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In Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris talks about the experience of learning French. He did this at the age of forty-one, in Paris. Some of his audience will have had the experience of learning a language as an adult, but they will be a minority. Sedaris, therefore...

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In Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris talks about the experience of learning French. He did this at the age of forty-one, in Paris. Some of his audience will have had the experience of learning a language as an adult, but they will be a minority. Sedaris, therefore focuses on the elements of his experience which are universal or very nearly so. He begins by talking about his fellow students, who "exhibited an ease and confidence that I found intimidating." This is a very common experience, particularly for a beginner in a language class. Sedaris also uses the technique of replacing the words he does not understand with meaningless jumbles of letters:

If you have not meimslsxp or lgpdmurct by this time, then you should not be in this room. Has everyone apzkiubjxow? Everyone?

Again, most readers will be able to identify with the feeling of listening to someone (particularly a teacher) making statements and asking questions they do not understand. A little later, when a student says that she dislikes mosquitoes, the teacher replies:

Oh, really ... How very interesting. I thought that everyone loved the mosquito, but here, in front of all the world, you claim to detest him. How is it that we’ve been blessed with someone as unique and original as you? Tell us, please.

The woman in question was asked to list a few of the things she liked and disliked. There was no stipulation to be unique and original. This comment, therefore, seems rather unfair. Again, the situation is one most people will understand instantly. We have all had teachers who singled out particular students as victims for their feeble attempts at wit and sarcasm.

Sedaris is using the universal elements in his rather unusual experience of attending language classes in Paris to draw the reader in. The reader may never have learned French or been to Paris, but we have all sat in classrooms and had experiences very similar to those described by the author. This provides the connection between writer and reader.

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