As a model for your own literacy narratives, yesterday in class we continued to examine “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” originally published in Esquire magazine and later as the title essay in David Sedaris’s 2000 essay collection.
In groups of three and four, you and your classmates studied Sedaris’s essay with a focus on his use of scene and summary, figurative language, and hyperbole.
You observed at the beginning of the fourth paragraph how Sedaris shifts from the summary of the third paragraph to the first words that the unnamed teacher speaks to her students: “If you have not meimslsxp or lgpmurct by this time, then you should not be in this room Has everyone apzkiubjxow? Everyone? Good, we shall begin” (167).
Sedaris begins his use of figurative language early in the essay with a simile near the end of the second paragraph and a metaphor near the beginning of the third:
- “[C]ausing me to feel not unlike Pa Kettle trapped backstage after a fashion show” (167).
- “[E]verybody into the language pool, sink or swim” (167).
In the seventh paragraph, Sedaris uses hyperbole when he describes one of the two Polish Annas as a woman with “front teeth the size of tombstones” (168).
Continue to look for opportunities to use one or more of those elements in your own literacy narratives.
To read more of Sedaris’s essays, see the list of links under the heading Writing and Radio on his website.
In addition to studying Sedaris’s essay, examine Helen Keller’s “The Day Language Came into My Life,” and note her use of figurative lanaguage. Also observe how frequently she uses sensory detail, namely her sense of touch–not sights and sounds, because she was blind and deaf.
You can read more of Helen Keller’s autobiography, the full text in fact, here: The Story of My Life. “The Day Language Came into My Life” is Chapter Four.
Sedaris, David. “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” Me Talk Pretty One Day.” Little, Brown, 2000. pp. 166-73.
In class tomorrow, we will look at your blogs on the big screen. Your literacy narrative may not be posted to your blog yet (it may still be in progress), but your blog should be launched and linked to our class page. Afterward, you will compose short reflective essays on your literacy narratives.