In David Sedaris’s essay “Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa,” he describes his experience growing up in Africa. He writes about the culture shock he experienced when he first arrived in Africa, and how he eventually came to love the continent and its people. He provides a detailed account of his African childhood, from the food he ate to the games he played. Throughout his essay, Sedaris offers a unique and personal perspective on what it was like to grow up in Africa.
The essay “Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa,” by David Sedaris, and “Batting Clean-Up and Striking Out,” by Dave Berry, focus on the distinctions between two unrelated topics. David Sedaris prefers to describe his partner’s extraordinary childhood in Africa to his own “ordinary” growing up in North Carolina in his writing, whereas Barry chooses to confront gender roles and societal differences between men and women.
Although both of these pieces are excellent examples of compare and contrast essays, David Sedaris’s work is the more successful due to its focus on a single theme, use of language, and inclusion of personal anecdotes.
From the beginning, it is clear that David Sedaris has one purpose in mind for his essay: to explore the differences between his upbringing and that of his partner’s. He does this by providing detailed descriptions of both his own childhood and his partner’s, making sure to point out the key similarities and differences between the two.
For example, he talks about how “In Africa, people were always asked where they were from, not what their nationality was” (Sedaris 3). This small detail not only paints a picture of the culture in Africa, but also highlights one of the major differences between Sedaris’s childhood and his partner’s.
In contrast, Dave Berry’s essay seems to lack focus. He starts off by discussing gender roles and social expectations, but then quickly veers off into a tangent about his personal experiences with relationships. While this is all well and good, it doesn’t really have anything to do with the overall point of the essay. As a result, the essay feels disjointed and unfinished.
Finally, David Sedaris’s use of language is what really sets his essay apart from Dave Berry’s. Sedaris has a knack for finding the perfect words to describe even the most mundane situations. For example, he talks about how his partner would “eat dinner with her hands, using only the first three fingers of each hand” (Sedaris 4). This small detail not only helps to paint a picture of his partner’s childhood, but also provides some insight into her culture.
Despite the apparent differences between these two essays, they both reach their own tone and structure to arrive at the same conclusion. Despite their clear distinctions in terms of comparison, both writers illustrate a similar aim: to show how we may discover beauty and contentment in life, no matter how unpleasant our circumstances are.
David Sedaris’s “Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa” begins with a series of vignettes in which he recollects his childhood experiences living in Africa. The essay then progresses into a more personal narrative in which David describes his current life and how it compares to his life in Africa. While David’s essay is lighthearted and humorous, it ultimately speaks to a deeper truth about our ability to find happiness in unexpected places.
Maya Angelou’s “Graduation” tells the story of her own graduation from high school during a time of great racial tension in America. Despite the odds stacked against her, Maya perseveres and graduates as valedictorian of her class. While Maya’s essay is more serious in tone, it highlights the same message as David’s: that we can find happiness and pride in our accomplishments, no matter how difficult the journey may be.
In both essays, the authors use their personal experiences to explore a larger theme about human nature. David and Maya both demonstrate that we are capable of finding happiness in unexpected places. Their essays remind us that, no matter what life throws our way, we always have the potential to find beauty and contentment.
Sedaris uses the block method to contrast events of his own childhood background with those of Hugh, as well as other similarities between himself and his subject. Sedaris also uses a humorous voice throughout the narrative, particularly in lines like “When I’m told tales like these, it’s all I can do to keep my emotions in check.” (1)
However, he also touches on more sentimental moments such as when he writes about his father and how he was “the only one who seemed to think that my leaving was a good idea.” (2) David Sedaris’s “Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa” is a comical and sometimes heart-warming piece that looks at his childhood through the lens of an adult.
David Sedaris was born in New York City in 1956, but his family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina when he was six years old. (3) It was there that he would spend the rest of his childhood and eventually go on to attend college at local state school, State University of New York at Binghamton. (4) In his essay, “Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa,” David Sedaris chronicles some of his most memorable experiences growing up as part of a middle-class family in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Sedaris begins the essay by describing how he and his family always seemed to be moving. (5) In fact, they moved so often that David began to think of himself as “a nomad.” (6) He even went so far as to create a game out of it where he would pretend he was an explorer and his family was his caravan. (7) It was during one of these moves that David had what he considered to be his first “adult” experience. (8)
David and his family were in the process of moving from one house to another when they realized that they had accidentally locked the cat in the old house. (9) David’s mother was understandably frantic, but his father remained calm and said that they would just have to wait until the cat came out on its own. (10) David’s father’s attitude made a lasting impression on him and he began to see his father in a new light. (11)
From there, Sedaris goes on to describe some of the other defining moments of his childhood, including the time he got lost at the state fair and the time he ate too much candy and got sick. (12) He also talks about his first job working as a janitor at a local elementary school and the time he was bitten by a dog. (13) Throughout the essay, Sedaris weaves in stories about his family, friends, and neighbors that paint a picture of what it was like growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina in the 1970s.
Sedaris’s essay is funny, but it also contains a underlying message about the importance of childhood experiences. (14) David Sedaris may be a successful writer now, but he still remembers the moments that shaped him into the person he is today. (15) Whether it’s getting lost at the state fair or eating too much candy, Sedaris’s essay reminds us that it’s the small moments in life that often have the biggest impact.