The learning curve by David Sedaris The learning curve by David Sedaris is a humorous essay that is solely intended to make the readers enjoy the dark comedy attached with it. The interesting thing about the essay is that it revolves around a teacher who tries to settle with a small class of nine children to start his career as a professional teacher…
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As the essay starts, David Sedaris is found saying “The teaching job was offered at the last minute, when the scheduled teacher found a better paying job of delivering pizza” (Sedaris, 2009, p.83). This sentence is very funny as it creates a situation in the mind of readers that the scheduled teacher was just about to make his way to school but then he changed his path and opted to deliver pizza for more money. Thinking about a teacher (or about to be teacher) delivering pizza on a bike itself seems very funny. In the very next sentence David Sedaris is found saying that he was given two weeks to prepare and in those two weeks he did prepare by standing in front of the mirror and practicing “Hello , class, my name is Mr. Sedaris” (Sedaris, 2009, p.83). The author has used irony in this particular sentence to elucidate his situation. He was given a couple of weeks to prepare notes and practise the way he would teach instead he spent those weeks in practising how he would introduce himself to the class. In one part of the essay, David Sedaris writes “childbirth is one of those details that looks to slip the mind of most opera characters” (Sedaris, 2009, p.85). It was funny to read this because of the situation that was created before this sentence actually emerged in the essay. David Sedaris was describing Victoria Buchanan high-school reunion and how she passed out and ended up with a hippie. It was then the writer said the following words. This type of humour is called ‘cheesy comedy.’ Under such type of comedy a writer looks to humorously degrade someone or a group of people by making through jokes. In reality people forget that someone is being degraded because the joy of laughter is greater than the insult being made (Young, 2002, p.95). At one other portion of the essay the writer writes “Nobody dies on Wednesday – hadn’t these people learned anything?” (Sedaris, 2009, p.86). The funny thing about the sentence is that David Sedaris is the teacher and he is asking whether the students had or had not learned anything. His clueless state of mind together with the absurd reasoning that nobody dies on Wednesday makes him sound like a ‘slapstick’ comedian. According to Judy Carter, slapstick comedy is something that makes an actor look foolish and funny at a very serious entourage. Thus when David Sedaris says that nobody dies on Wednesday on a serious situation it makes him sound goofy and slapstick (Carter, 2001, p.60). Although it might be used as light humour, some of the text might be offending to some of the readers and could be regarded as a little controversial. When David Sedaris says that he managed to get the teaching job as the scheduled teacher failed to show up because he got a better paid pizza delivery job, he seems to degrade the teaching occupation. Teaching is regarded as a very respectable job as it is expected from the teachers to impart knowledge and groom the youth of a nation. But it does not look like David Sedaris places the same importance to it. Also he is shown as an irresponsible teacher setting the wrong kind of example to the other teachers to follow. There comes huge responsibility with this occupation and the writer clearly laid more emphasis on his semblance when he talked about rehearsing in front of the mirror. Though funny it sets the wrong message to the larger audience. The
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