February 25, 2013
Language is a unique form of communication system used all around the world, in many different cultures and variations. In the short stories, On Stuttering, by Edward Hoagland, and Me Talk Pretty by David Sedaris, the authors discuss how they had to overcome obstacles in their everyday lives because of their speech impediments. They describe how they felt about their limitations, different strategies they used to defeat their language barriers, and the affects that theses obstacles had on their self confidence. Hoagland struggles with a stuttering problem, while Sedaris has moved to France in hopes to become fluent in a new language; although their handicaps were different, they used many of the same approaches to master them.
Edward Hoagland is thought of as one the america's finest essayists, which is ironic considering he cannot speak as fluent as the average person. In his memoir Compass Points, Hoagland writes: “Most of us live like stand up comedians on a vaudeville stage—the way an essayist does—by our humble wits, messing up, swallowing an aspirin, knowing Hollywood wont call, thinking no one we love will die today, just another day of sunshine and rain” (mcQuade atwan 113). He has a humorous outlook and attitude on the way people live; the same attitude is also seen in his essay Stuttering in response to his speech impediment. After 60 years of stuttering, he refers to his life as becoming a “matter of measuring the importance of anything he says”(mcquade atwan). In a single conservation he battles choosing whether or not the words are important enough to waste his breath on. He describes the actions of a football game as an analogy for what goes on in his head with tacklers and blockers: “the very effort of pausing to figure something out will alert them to how to bring you down” (Mcquade Atwan). Just like a football game, there are obstacles to overcome, periods of breaks,...