What is the thesis in me talk pretty one day

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is actually very difficult to identify any one thesis in this collection of essays by David Sedaris that cover a wide range of different topics. One uniting theme is that they all reflect on the author's life in his younger days and how he managed to make his way through childhood and adolescence and find his place in the world. The thesis could therefore be explained on these terms: these essays show the funny, sometimes bittersweet and painful recollection of a young man who slowly but surely discovers his own identity and makes his own way through life. This is not just a result of his homosexuality, but also through his identity as an American, as the following quote explores in a typically hilarious fashion:

Every day we're told that we live in the greatest country on earth. And it's always stated as an undeniable fact: Leos are born between July 23 and August 22, fitted queen-size sheets measure sixty by eighty inches, and America is the greatest country on earth. Having grown up with this in our ears, it's startling to realize that other countries have nationalistic slogans of their own, none of which are 'We're number two!”

Just as Sedaris has to cope with his sexuality and what that means for him, as he grows up and spends time abroad, he also has to come to terms with his American cultural identity and how this fits into who he is and his life. The collection of essays thus represent a very tender and funny exploration of identity and selfhood.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The thesis of the particular essay "Me Talk Pretty One Day" is that learning something new makes people feel vulnerable. In this essay, Sedaris describes, in hilarious terms, his experience taking a French class in Paris. He writes, "At my age, a reasonable person should have completed his sentence in the prison of the nervous and the insecure." In other words, he wrongly thought that feeling so insecure was behind him. Though he is in his 40s when he takes this course, he is more frightened than ever before.

Learning a new language is like being a child again, Sedaris realizes. He is robbed of the ability to express himself with facility, as he has to speak entirely in French, and his teacher mocks him mercilessly. After several weeks of suffering, he is finally able to understand his teacher's insults, and he feels like his world has opened up, much as a child might feel once he or she learns to express oneself.