Comparing Me Talk Pretty One Day And David Sedaris's Lost In The Kitchen

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Comparing apples to oranges is not always futile. This statement is clearly proven to be true when comparing David Sedaris 's essay, "Me Talk Pretty One Day," and Dave Barry 's, "Lost In the Kitchen." Both of these essays are humorous examinations of human experiences. While Barry 's, an essay about men 's innate disadvantages in the kitchen (compared to women), relies on unjustified stereotypes, obviously false assertions, lame hyperbole, and overwrought imagery to convey his purpose, Sedaris utilizes a plethora of varying rhetorical devices and strategies to convey his purpose throughout his essay about taking a french class in France under the tutelage of a tyrannical and cruel teacher. He uses devices such as; vivid diction, credibility…show more content…
One of the best uses of vivid word choice in Sedaris 's essay is when he describes the teacher responding to a student. He describes her as follows; "She crouched low for her attack placed her hands on the young woman 's desk, and leaned close, saying, 'Oh yeah? And do you love your little war? '" This instantly establishes the kind of abrasive, calculatingly cruel woman the teacher was. This image is described again, instead Sedaris uses other ways to convey it, that, in turn, describe other facets of his teacher 's personality. One of these other ways he conveys another aspect of his teacher 's personality is in his labeling of her as a "wild animal." This further establishes the idea that she is cruel, but adds a predatory and unpredictable aspect to her demeanor. This gradual reveal of character creates a more diverse humor, therefore, more effectively helping to achieve Sedaris’s humorous purpose. This achievement is especially clear when contrasted with Barry’s use of imagery. “Surrounding Arlene are thousands of steaming cooking containers,” “She quickly becomes enshrouded in steam,” and “[..] finally bumble over and ask what we can do to help, and from behind the steam comes Arlene’s patient voice [...]” all convey the same idea. The kitchen is a daunting, foreign, place to men, while it is obviously more comfortable for females. We get it Barry! You don’t need to spend two whole…show more content…
The most memorable use of this device lies in the passages, “The teacher killed some time accusing the Yugoslavian girl of masterminding a program of genocide [...].” or “‘I hate you,’ she said to me one afternoon. Her English was flawless. ‘I really, really hate you.’ Call me sensitive, but I couldn’t help but take it personally.” Both these excerpts downplay really serious things, hatred and genocide, and reduces them to nothing more than an everyday part of French class. This use of litote achieves an extremely humorous effect, and helps to convey Sedaris’s purpose magnificently. Unlike Barry, who includes so many hyperbolic statements in his essay-that all essentially convey the same idea (men suck in the kitchen)- that they grow boring by the third time you read one of them. Barry opens his essay with hyperbole, “Men are still basically scum when it comes to helping out in the kitchen.” He repeats this line halfway through the piece, worded differently of course, but no matter, it is not funny anymore. “I realize this is awful,” and “Most men make themselves as useful around the kitchen as ill-trained Labrador retrievers,” both convey the same idea the first two hyperbolic statements were trying to convey. Why would an author write something six different ways and expect us to not get tired of it? This overuse of the same type of hyperbolic statement makes me

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