Me Talk Pretty One Day “Me Talk Pretty One Day” is an essay written by David Sedaris. David is forty-one years old, but he does not think it is too late to learn French. Despite the fact of his age he moves to Paris with the hope of learning a new language. A month before he left his city, New York, he went on some sort of evening school to learn the language just a little, before leaving for France. The apartment he got in Paris was only a ten-minute walk from school.
After paying for his tuition, he was given a student ID, which gave him access to lots of facilities. He was very nervous the first day of class, because he knows that everyone there was expecting to perform, to perform well, also because he didn’t know anyone. He felt intimidated by the looks of the young students in the class, but also because their French sounded almost fluent already. He wasn’t the only foreign in class, they were gathered from lots of different countries like Poland, Germany, China, Holland, Korea, Italy, Yugoslavia and Japan.
They were all in the same boat. French were the only language to be spoken when class starts, not only by the teacher, also by the students. The teacher talks condescending to the students at any time: “How very interesting. I thought that everyone loved the mosquito, but here, in front of all the world, you claim to detest him. How is it that we’ve been blessed with someone as unique and original as you? Tell us please. ” (Line 35-37, page 1). This is the first time the students and teacher meets and the teacher is some sort of attacking them already.
But no one understands everything the teacher says, only some of it. One by one the students were to tell about what they hated and loved after which the teacher were orally tearing them to pieces. When it was David’s turn, he tried to absorb as much of her abuse as he could understand. The teacher was using a method where she is questioning the students with all kind of questions. By using the method the students should be able to answer whenever she approached them with a question.
The teacher used the students to practice any of her five fluent languages: “I hate you…” (Line 88, page 3). David “gave” himself a new identity “David the hard worker” and started to ignore everything when he was in class, because he was so eager to learn it. As time passed he didn’t see improvement, but one day when the teacher was scolding, he for the first time since he arrived to France understand everything. That gave him the desire to learn even more. The tone of the essay is very calm and easily understandable.
The way he in the beginning is listening to the teacher scold them by saying: “I you not have meimslsxp or lgpdmurct by this time…” he gives us a concerning about how it was just to sit there without understanding much of what you are told, which I think gives me a figurative picture. David’s attitude towards learning French is remarkable, “I’ve moved to Paris with hopes of learning the language” (Line 6, page 1) He sounds like he does not even know if he will learn it, he is just giving it a shot. It sounds like he I taking it step for step.
And the fact that he only had a month with French before he arrived is fascinating and requires courage. “I absorbed as much of her abuse as I could understand, thinking – but not saying – that I find it ridiculous to assign a gender to an inanimate object incapable of disrobing and making an occasional fool of itself. Why refer to Lady Crack Pipe or Good Sir Dishrag when these things could never live up to all that their sex implied? ” He thinks of commentating it, but keeps his mouth shut, because he is cleverer than that. He uses the references to “Lady Crack Pipe” and “Good Sir Dishrag” as if they were their teacher.
He also calls the teachers way of teaching is like being with a wild animal, something completely unpredictable, which was the reason why he learned to “defend” himself. In spite of his eager to learn the language he became afraid to ask for directions or stopping for coffee. The teacher made him so afraid of saying the wrong words that he didn’t want to speak at all. But when he finally understood the words the teacher was saying to him, a new world opened up in front of him and with great joy he responded: “I know the thing that you speak exact now. Talk me more, you, plus please, plus. ”