Textual Analysis

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Just Who is Us and Who is Them?

“It occurred to me that they needed a guide, someone who could accompany them through the course of an average day and point out all the things they were unable to understand. I could have done it on weekends but friendships would have taken away their mystery and interfered with the good feeling I got from pitying them. So I kept my distance.“ In today’s society many times kids are influenced by the actions of their parents and other adult figures in their life. Such is the case in David Sedaris memoir “Us and Them” young David reflects on his life coming up as a child in the country in New York State. After reading “Us and Them,” a memoir written by David Sedaris, I was forced to think back and look at my life and the way I view others. In this memoir young David reflects back to his childhood and when he was force to really open his eyes so to say and take a good look at himself. The story starts by telling how David moved often and adopted his mother’s attitude and views that there isn’t any point in getting too close to people that they would have to say goodbye too, and pretend that not making friends is a conscious choice. David overhears a friend of his mother say, “Mr. Tomkey doesn’t believe in television.“ Once he finds out that the family next door lives a content life without owning or watching a television young David becomes obsessed with the Tomkey family and begins to spy on them. The Tomkeys become television for David. He begins to feel that the Tomkeys are at a disadvantage and have to be lost in a world of television watchers.

I felt the title “Us and Them” was given to this memoir to get the reader to take a look at the way they view others and notice faults but can’t notice the very things about themselves. For example the author recalls Halloween and how he had looked forward to going in disguise to the Tomkey’s house, but they were out of town. However they had left a coffee can full of...
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