What audience is the author writing to in the essay "Me Talk Pretty One Day"?

The author is writing to as wide an audience as possible, employing a universal tone and language.

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The primary subject of “Me Talk Pretty One Day ” is learning a new language. Although Anglophone cultures tend to be more monolingual than most, practically everyone has had the experience of learning a foreign language at some point in life, meaning that they could relate to this subject...

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The primary subject of “Me Talk Pretty One Day” is learning a new language. Although Anglophone cultures tend to be more monolingual than most, practically everyone has had the experience of learning a foreign language at some point in life, meaning that they could relate to this subject specifically.

However, it is clearly not necessary to have experienced the exact situation described to appreciate and participate in a literary experience. Few readers of War and Peace will have been on a wolf-hunt. Thus, Many of the thoughts and feelings Sedaris describes are universal.

At the beginning of the essay, he writes about the nerve-racking, intimidating experience of being in a new place for the first time, surrounded by people who already know each other. There cannot be many people in the world who have never been in such a situation or have not felt as Sedaris does. At the end of the essay comes a more optimistic universal experience. Sedaris suddenly understands what the teacher is saying. He writes:

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 teacher continued her diatribe and I settled back, bathing in the subtle beauty of each new curse and insult.

Everyone who has ever studied anything with any degree of success knows the mental state of satisfaction and accomplishment Sedaris is describing. This essay, like most of Sedaris’s work, is universally relatable. It is written to and for everyone.

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David Sedaris is a humor writer who often styles his work in a relatable way, trying to appeal to a broad majority of people. His book Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of essays recalling his life in North Carolina and his travels to other places in America and the world. In particular, he focuses on how he feels out of place and, in his words, “bumpkinish." He feels like he is less intelligent than the others around him because he is not as cultured or doesn’t speak their language, such as when he travels to New York or moves to Normandy.

His audience, therefore, is anyone who has felt “other," especially regarding language and intelligence, which I feel most people can relate to. He shows the embarrassment and humor of trying to fit in where he is not as familiar (New York) or where he doesn’t speak the language at all (Normandy, France). This resonates with readers everywhere who have felt out of place in situations and cities and yearned to feel included. We can all find the humor in these scenarios.

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In this essay about learning French in Paris, David Sedaris is writing for people who have been in the position of being different or uncomfortable in a new situation. While he concentrates on his own experience in the language classroom, he also provides a look at the other students and their approaches. As he also examines the power dynamics between teachers and students, he appeals to people who have been in situations where another person exerted more authority than was warranted. Sedaris is a white, gay, upper-middle-class American man who moved to France to continue living with his long-term partner. The other language class students come from different countries and have different reasons for living in Paris, so the reader might also identify with them in other ways than with Sedaris himself.

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As he is primarily a humor and lifestyle writer, David Sedaris’s work is very approachable, and the audience is expansive. His book Me Talk Pretty One Day chronicles his attempts to learn French. The humor in the story is refreshing and relatable, making it available to a wide audience.

I believe his intended audience is the majority of Americans who have experienced something similar. Most students take a foreign language class at some point and know the feeling of reverting to a childlike vocabulary and stumbling around linguistically. Sedaris intends to communicate with an audience who understands the trials of learning a new language, and he does so well. Additionally, in that vein, he could have well intended this work for non-native speakers who are learning or have learned English.

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One of the beautiful things about David Sedaris’ essays is how accessible they are. The intended audience of the essay "Me Talk Pretty One Day" might be someone considering learning a new language, but truly most people can find something to love about this essay. In it, Sedaris details his experience of taking a French class while living in Paris. His classmates are mostly young people from around the world, and although they are coming from different backgrounds, they all have one thing in common: a fear of their French teacher. Sedaris describes the cutting things she says to them, the way she picks apart their poor French, turns simple answers into weapons to be used against them. It is a humorous essay, easily relatable to by anyone who has suffered embarrassment while embarking on something new or made themselves vulnerable in a new situation. A possibly unintended audience of the essay was the French teacher herself, who was displeased when she read it. Sedaris later said in an interview with Colin Marshall of the Los Angeles Review of Books, “I meant it at the time, but since then things have changed. She’s still moody, but I think she’s a good teacher. I can see that now, whereas I couldn’t before.”

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