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David Sedaris enrolls in a French-only school and embarks on a torturous journey to master the language. Normally, he is expected to grasp all that the teacher teaches, which is difficult for a full beginner. David is not alone; there are a slew of other foreign students who fail to reconcile French pronunciation and intonation. The author's goal in writing this text is to emphasize the difficulties that international students face while adjusting to a new culture and, more specifically, a new language. The author is an example of the hatred directed at foreign academics not only in France, but around the world. In the end we see a sign of triumph. Though the teacher intended to insult the author, it turns out he understands everything, thus
The author begins by describing his predicament, and in the process introduces himself as a 41 year old. From his choice of worlds we get to know that he is rather playful and jovial. According to the teacher, the classroom was a place one had to be wary of flying chalk, balancing verbs as well as bodily harm. One of the foremost thematic objects on this text is the fact that the teacher seems extremely hostile not just to the author but to the entire student body. The Alliance Françoise represents a convergence of cultures that allow the students to exchange not just their strength but their weaknesses. The author illustrates that he had come specifically to the French capital to acquaint himself with the language as well as the culture. The French have a way of getting things complex when it comes to grammar. The author compares this to their way of life as he struggles to find his way around a foreign city. In the end, what is necessary is actually getting fast-tracked in the language.
In addition to this, the author's main motif remains highlighting the ills of the education system. While the student focuses most of her effort in negative motivation, the author proves beyond reasonable doubt that this is not effective. Ideally, students must be accorded respect. It is funny to notice that at his age, the author still struggles with insults from a generally youthful teacher.
The style of this text is in present perfect form, making the narrative not just catchy but generating much suspense. The choice of tone by the author has everything to do with first person narration of the situation at hand. This makes the narrative not just real but also practical. Aspects of racism can be read as well in the tense used with the author criticizing severally many aspects of the curriculum that are used to castigate foreigners. He represents a minority group in France whose intellect and mental ability, the world tries to measure by asking them to speak French. In the end, we see a victorious language student who understands everything that the teacher says, thus bringing the horrendous experience to a graceful end.
The narrative can be used as a blueprint to assess foreign behavior of migrants and people who may not be able to understand the language of a country instantly. Essentially, the author speaks on behalf of minorities across the world. Finally, other than the candid narration of his steep learning curve of the language, we get to see an alternative view of French culture, traditions and behavior.
Sedaris, D. (2010). Me talk pretty one day. Hachette UK.
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