A Critical Analysis of Me Talk Pretty One Day - Paper Example

Published: 2023-12-30
A Critical Analysis of Me Talk Pretty One Day - Paper Example
Essay type:  Analytical essays
Categories:  Teaching Students Analysis
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 773 words
7 min read

People have a passion for learning different languages, but it is a difficult and challenging thing to do if it is not done in the right way with the right teachers and environment. Teachers have to act in a friendly manner to their students providing an atmosphere of support and understanding rather than scaring them off as they objectify to learn the new languages. In the short article Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris provided a memoir of a 41-year-old foreign language speaker who tries to study and speak fluent French. Sedaris travels to Paris as an initiative to help him speak fluent French. Back in the US, Sedaris tried to learn French by attending some linguistic classes as a measure to fly to France for further study. Also, Sedaris reveals the French teacher as scary, thus making him and his fellow students keep quiet rather than talk to improve their language. In the article, Sedaris presented a relatable and easy-to-comprehend account of the obstacles he faced in his efforts to learn and speak fluent French. Thus, Sedaris’ claim reveals a negative attitude of an international student studying a foreign language.

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Sedaris felt nervous and anxious when he attended his first French class in the US. Students had to study French as a measure to facilitate their move to France to learn the language further. During his first day in class, Sedaris felt anxious, nervous, and lacked confidence as he compared himself to other students. Sedaris felt that all the students spoke better French than his as he watched them exchange greetings in French and felt intimidated (Sedaris, 1999, p. 1). When the narrator enters the class, he likens it to a language pool where every individual has to swim or sink (Sedaris, 1999, p.1) and feels more nervous because everyone will expect him to perform. Sedaris also views himself as old and unattractive as compared to the other students who seemed “young, attractive and well-dressed’’ (Sedaris, 1999, p. 1).

Sedaris reveals his first French teacher as terrifying. When the teacher marches in, Sedaris describes him as “deeply tanned after a recent vacation” (Sedaris, 1999, p. 1). The teacher begins her class by intimidating and humiliating the students who had no significant progress in mastering the language. Sedaris quotes her saying “If you have not meismslsxp by this time, you should not be in this room” (Sedaris, 1999, p. 1) thus demoralizing the student who was deficient in the language. The teacher also set a high standard for her class in the academic year where Sedaris described it as “being in the presence of a wild animal, something completely unpredictable’’ (Sedaris, 1999, p. 2). The teacher randomly selects any student to speak in understandable French giving them no room to use another language to express themselves fully. Thus, the intimidation and set of stringent rules by the teachers limit the linguistic prowess of the students, making them think they are stupid.

The students are afraid of speaking during their French lessons. Sedaris reveals that the cruelty and rebuking of their teacher put him off, just like the other students. The students started to work new mechanisms that could enable them to avoid speaking in the class where Sedaris chronicles that ‘‘we soon learned to dodge chalk and cover our heads and stomachs whenever she approached us with a question” (Sedaris, 1999, p. 2). Sedaris also tries to stud harder to change the teacher’s perception about him. The efforts did not bear any fruits as she often referred to him as a “lazy kfdtinvfm” and this made him feel insecure in the public since Sedaris thought everything he could speak could turn out wrong.


To sum it up, an international student learning French develops a negative attitude because of the influences by the environment, fellow students, and teachers. Sedaris felt he could not speak fluent French like his classmates when they were exchanging greetings in French in the lobby. The students also seem young and attractive as compared to a trapped Sedaris. The ferocious and humiliating teacher also makes Sedaris feel insecure despite putting in more effort to study and speak fluent French. The personal memoir of Sedaris helped me to analyze his article since I likened it to the real happenings in our classroom. Our teachers and classmates often make us feel inferior and incapable of progressing in our studies. Thus, writing from a personal perspective makes stories lively and entertaining since readers can contextualize the happenings in the story.


Sedaris, D. (1999). Me talk pretty one day. Vol 131. Black and White Photograph. The UK.

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