The purpose of analyzing an author's memoir, is to capture the full essence of their personality and the intent conveyed by their writing style. In David Sedaris's essay, "Me Talk Pretty One Day," he relays his adventure of attending a Paris university to learn the French language from a teacher who operates a questionable teaching practice. He concludes his essay by recounting his eventual success in understanding the language against the odds of a warped curriculum, but more information can be gleaned from this essay that will give the reader a greater appreciation for the author's intent and style. Searching further into David Sedaris's essay will reveal his effort to adapt to a new culture in a foreign country; his ability to define personality using witty and unconventional descriptions; his prolific use of humor to provide an entertaining story to his readers; and the challenges of writing satirical non-fiction.
Many times when we read a personal essay, we tend to not pay attention to the little details and instead go for what we believe is the "main point". In his essay, "Indian Educations", Sherman Alexie talks about his life in education as a Native American. When looked well enough into, readers can see as to why he writes this way and what his topics are. Readers will see after a deeper look into this essay and further readings that, Alexie has a love for basketball, his childhood was not luxurious, he uses characters more than once in his writings, and glimpses of his intelligence that he provides.
Most readers read a personal essay and stop. They never look deeper, never question, never wonder of the author or their purpose in writing. Analyzing an essay to better understand and find the author's meaning for yourself is worthwhile. In the essay, "Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self" Alice Walker writes of her own emotional and physical journey of healing after an accident, at the age of eight, when her brother shot her in the eye with a bee-bee gun. In Walker's writings, prevalent themes such as the unique style of introducing poems into different forms of writing, the criticism of men and more specifically fathers, and women finding beauty within themselves, is what makes her many acclaimed pieces of writing distinct.
When reading an essay the everyday reader does not recognize the inner meaning of that particular essay. Most often the inner meaning is what that author is trying to share with his or her readers. That is where learning to analyze and really pick apart an essay comes in handy. In E.B. White's essay, "Once More to the Lake," he brings his son to his childhood vacation spot. While he is recollecting all the past memories he's had there, he finds himself as his son, and therefore he is his father. With further reading of his essay you can find many elements that have meaning beyond just this one essay. In my analysis of E.B. White, I found that there is always a strong passion for children and family, he writes in great detail, he tends to support the environment, and finally he uses his everyday experiences to write his works.
Clearly, there is more to Sedaris's essay beyond the text. In an analysis of his writing, the reader will discover the challenges of adapting to a new culture, as well as the challenges of writing satire, and Sedaris's willingness to share his difficult experiences with his readers as complimented by his intrinsic wit and humor to provide a thoroughly enjoyable story. Learning more about this author will give the reader a sense of the honor he lends to the dwindling pastime of storytelling. Ultimately, few authors are brave enough to reveal both their personal strengths and weaknesses to their readers using a critical eye and a sharp tongue, but this is the essence of David Sedaris, and he does it all for a good laugh.
Critics and reviewers of his work can confess that there is a sense of further thinking in his writing. In a book review of, Ten Little Indians, the reviewer writes "Alexie is a smart guy, and he exposes the hypocrisies and failings of pretty much everyone, from white liberals to homeless Indians." ("Alexie's Ordinary Indians").
After a deeper look into this essay and further readings, readers will be able to see Alexie's love for basketball, his childhood was not luxurious, he uses characters more than once in his writings, and glimpses of his intelligence that he provides. Alexie's writing style differentiates his from others, as readers will notice this style as they read. So next time, when reading and there is a hint of a poor boy growing up loving education and basketball, best bet is that it is the style and way of Sherman Alexie.
An analysis of Walker's essay allows readers to better appreciate her history as a person and her gifts as a writer. Her experiences she shares in her essay "Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self", give readers an intimate view on some of the reasons why she is so passionate about the beauty in women that she didn't herself come to accept for many years and which many women do not realize they possess. Her works are always an interesting, entertaining, and an enlightening find that will have you enraptured from cover to cover. Alice Walker is a writer who seeks to share her passions of feminine beauty, her views of men, and her exceptional talent of writing styles with all who cross her path.
White's writings, although all different, are actually very much the same. They all use the same elements to create a different effect for each. Whether it be a children's book or an adult content book, all have his own life experience in them, and all have a very detailed writing style. His love and compassion for the environment sticks out in more of his essay writings than books, but that does not mean they are not present in all. To fully understand a writer you must look deeper than just the words on the page. With this technique done with White we can conclude with, everyday experiences are inspirations for writing, detailed writing is always a must for White, and family is always first.