Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa
In “Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa” by David Sedaris his purpose is to show how foolish and insane it is not to appreciate what you have. His essay encourages the reader to be satisfied with what they have and not focus on what they do not. The first argument is found in the title, the fact that he didn’t grow up in the continent of Africa, rather Hugh did, is childish. The fact that Sedaris claims ownership to Hugh’s upbringing introduces the idea of envy of others. However, Sedaris compares his childhood moments with Hugh’s, “certain events are parallel but compared to Hugh’s, “my childhood was unspeakably dull. When I was seven years old, my family moved to North Carolina. When he was seven years old, Hugh’s family moved to the Congo. We had a collie and a house cat, they had a monkey and two horses names Charlie Brown and Satan. I threw stones at stop signs. Hugh threw stones at crocodiles”. Sedaris describes his childhood as ordinary for an American, perhaps even monotonous. He uses parallel sentence structure to compare Hugh’s and himself, despite Sedaris preferring Hugh’s childhood memories. This emphasizes how he significantly compares his life to Hugh’s. One memory in particular displays irony in a more dramatic way, “he turned from face to face and was looking up at Hugh when one of the brothers drew a pistol from his back pocket, held it against the animal’s temple, and the shot the piglet, execution style. Blood spattered, frightened children wept, and the man with the gun offered the teacher and bus driver some meat from a freshly slaughtered goat”. Sedaris sees this field trip occasion as one of Hugh’s significant memories, when in reality it really isn’t. This is an example of ridiculousness therefore shows the envy of wanting what others have. His ignorance is evident in the sentence, “when I’m told such stories, it’s all I can do hold back my...
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