Rhetorical Analysis of Me Talk Pretty One Day

April 28, 2022 by Essay Writer

Sedaris employs appeals to pity, a tonal shift from fear to calm, and a humorous tone in order to emphasize the difficulty of living in a foreign country with a minimum level of fluency in the language spoken in that country.

Sedaris appeals to the audience’s emotions such as feeling pity for him by sharing in detail how he felt on his first day of class, when he first met his teacher and his classmates. He describes other students’ conversations with the teacher in broken French that allows the audience to better understand the emotions and struggle not only he but also his classmates are facing. Throughout the excerpt, Sedaris creates a vivid picture of how he felt whenever his teacher would insult every student’s introduction and the nerve-racking feeling of what to say in his introduction, and he was criticized in spite of putting his best effort through jotting notes down on his pad, which makes us feel pity for him for it brings us back to our first day in a class when we were worried about what to say as a proper introduction to the class without making fool of ourselves.

Sedaris shifts tone from fear to calm by showing how he didn’t understand what his teacher was saying in spite of taking a month-long French class before leaving for France. “I’m not completely in the dark, yet I understood only half of what this woman was saying.” when he thought he was prepared. Which ultimately leads him to be scared of performing. Sedaris criticizes the education system in France by saying they either let you sink meaning fail or swim meaning succeed and offer no assistance and leave you helpless which shows how Sedaris was scared of performing and blames everything on the education system. For example, he says “That’s the way they do it around here-everyone into the language pool, sink or swim.”. But his lack of understanding of the language slowly by the end of the passage turns into Sedaris learning and understanding what others were saying.

Lastly, Sedaris uses humor to help readers understand the difficulties he is facing. By using specific words, he enables the reader to understand that there is a stronger connection with the event or occasion. It also allows the reader to understand what the author is thinking at the moment. For example, he states “‘If you have not meismslsxp by this time… Has everyone apskiubjxow?’” Sedaris uses random letters to represent the words he didn’t understand, it allows the reader to know that is in his mind, he is confused and can’t make out what those words mean and demonstrates his limited knowledge. The letters allow the audience to create a deeper understanding of what the Sedaris thinks at the moment. “I realized, while laughing, that I myself did not know the alphabet…I know the shape of the alphabet but had no idea what it actually sounded like.”, Sedaris in the way he describes certain situations and his choice of words makes the reader laugh and furthers their knowledge of his thinking because it exposes the obstacle of learning a foreign language and allows the reader to comprehend the extent of his struggle in a comical manner.

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