David Sedaris Us and Them Analysis

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 481 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

Words: 481|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

David Sedaris's essay "Us and Them" offers a humorous and insightful commentary on the nature of cultural differences and the ways in which they shape our perceptions of others. Through his witty and engaging storytelling, Sedaris challenges readers to question their own biases and preconceptions, and to consider the possibility that perhaps we are not so different from those whom we perceive as "other."

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The heart of Sedaris's essay is the story of his neighbors, the Tomkeys, a family who refuses to conform to societal norms. The Tomkeys celebrate holidays on different dates, wear unconventional clothing, and lead a lifestyle that is starkly different from that of the Sedaris family. Initially, Sedaris and his siblings view the Tomkeys with disdain, mocking their eccentricities and labeling them as outsiders. However, as the essay progresses, Sedaris begins to question the validity of these judgments and considers the possibility that the Tomkeys may not be so different from his own family after all.

One of the key themes that Sedaris explores in "Us and Them" is the idea of cultural relativism. He suggests that our perceptions of others are often shaped by our own cultural biases and expectations, leading us to view those who are different from us as strange or inferior. By highlighting the similarities between his family and the Tomkeys, Sedaris challenges the notion of a clear divide between "us" and "them" and suggests that perhaps we are not so different from one another after all.

Sedaris also delves into the concept of empathy and understanding in his essay. As he observes the Tomkeys from afar, he begins to recognize their humanity and complexity, realizing that they are not simply caricatures or stereotypes, but real people with their own hopes, dreams, and struggles. This realization prompts Sedaris to reevaluate his initial judgments and consider the importance of empathy and open-mindedness in bridging the gap between different cultures and worldviews.

Moreover, Sedaris uses humor to highlight the absurdity of the "us" versus "them" mentality. By poking fun at his own family's reactions to the Tomkeys, Sedaris invites readers to consider how arbitrary and illogical these divisions can be. Through his witty observations and ironic commentary, Sedaris challenges the idea that cultural differences should be a source of conflict or division, and instead suggests that they can be a source of richness and diversity.

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Furthermore, Sedaris's essay serves as a reminder of the importance of empathy, understanding, and open-mindedness in fostering a more inclusive and compassionate society. By sharing his own journey of introspection and growth, Sedaris encourages readers to reflect on their own attitudes towards those who are different from them and to consider the ways in which empathy and open-mindedness can help bridge the gap between cultures and promote a more harmonious coexistence. Ultimately, "Us and Them" is a call to embrace diversity and to recognize the humanity and complexity of those whom we perceive as "other."

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

David Sedaris Us And Them Analysis. (2024, March 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
“David Sedaris Us And Them Analysis.” GradesFixer, 05 Mar. 2024,
David Sedaris Us And Them Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
David Sedaris Us And Them Analysis [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 05 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from:
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