Me Talk Pretty One Day

by David Sedaris

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Who is the target audience for Me Talk Pretty One Day?

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The author’s target audience writing Me Talk Pretty One Day is students and people who have felt out of place in a new setting. By detailing his experiences in a foreign language class, David Sedaris especially connects with current and former students. Because Sedaris’s feelings of discomfort extended to living in France, his work will be meaningful to readers who have adjusted to a different environment.

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The primary target audience for Me Talk Pretty One Day is likely to consist of students and people who have felt different from others when they adjusted to living in a new environment. David Sedaris not only describes but also exaggerates for humorous effect the difficulties he encountered when studying...

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a foreign language—in this case, French. By detailing his experiences as a student, Sedaris provides ample opportunity for anyone who is currently a student or has ever been one to connect with his particular experience. Sedaris also explores the ways that his sense of displacement relates to his broader situation, that of having recently moved to France. In this regard, theessay is likely to be meaningful for anyone who has had to function in a significantly different environment; its appeal can be considered universal.

Sedaris emphasizes the contrast between the other students and himself, which includes his “new kid” status and the fact that he is older than most of his peers. He reveals how he finds common ground through the difficulty of learning French and the feelings of intimidation that the teacher instills. Another commonality is that the other students are also foreign and must learn the social and cultural features that distinguish France from their home countries. While not all readers will have moved to a foreign country, making drastic adjustments to new environments is a very common experience; most readers will relate to the situation of Sedaris and his fellow students.

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

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

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

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

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

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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Who is the audience in "Me Talk Pretty One Day"?

The audience in "Me Talk Pretty One Day" is educated Americans who have some background in struggling to master a foreign language. This group would appreciate the humor of the narrator's predicament.

We know that the target audience of the essay is Americans because Sedaris assumes an American cultural context. For example, he describes one of the Polish Annas answering a question in French in a way that sounds like one of "those Playmate of the Month data sheets."

People from other cultures—or even people reading today rather than several decades ago—might not even know what that means. The reference also suggests that Sedaris is envisioning a male audience, as women might not be as likely to pore over "data" about a nude woman.

Sedaris also presupposes that people share a stereotypical discomfort with mastering foreign languages, and he presupposes familiarity with the trope of the demanding schoolmarm who has no room for the inadequacies of her students.

A person who has not tried to learn a foreign language or sees no value in doing so is not likely to fully appreciate either the humor of the struggles or the narrator's joy at the end when he realizes he finally can understand French.

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