Download this Essay in word format. All the students in the class are learning French as a second language, but come from different backgrounds. The author is American, but classmates are from Poland, Morocco, and Italy. In fact, the Moroccan student is the one that triggers the theme of cultural relativism when she asks the class to explain Easter.
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When the teacher asks what takes place during Easter, a Moroccan student expresses that she has never heard of the Christian celebration. The story is also narrated in 1st person by what is most likely a student from an American background. In order for the reader, who is most likely American, to understand that other cultures do not recognize the same religious traditions, the Polish, Italian, and Moroccan classmates are added to the plot. If the reader is of Christian background, or even American or European, they may have an understanding of what Easter is from a religious perspective.
By definition, Easter is one of the most important Christian celebrations, which is dedicated to the resurrection of Jesus Christ Collins English Dictionary. Despite that, when the Moroccan student expresses that she has never heard of Easter before, the other students try to express what it by using sharing their own cultural experiences.
The Polish students make an attempt to explain the crucifixion that took place to Jesus while others try to express their ideas about who Jesus was Sedaris The Italian student then brought up what traditional foods are eaten on the holiday, sparking a debate between the narrator and the class about the Easter bunny and the flying Easter bell from Rome From an outside religious perspective, many of the different cultural traditions associated with Easter may seem strange.
Sedaris uses his characters to share a wide array of the traditions. Even though the Moroccan women in the short story has never heard of Easter, there are several traditions that the students explain that are not practiced everywhere. Sedaris uses all of his characters to help the reader understand that even if our religious practices and culture are different, many ethnicities share common ground, such as a religious holiday. Another way that Sedaris helps the reader relate to his characters, even though they may have a different religious or cultural background, is through his use of dialogue.
The entire short story is written is English, most likely because Sedaris expected an English speaking audience, but it takes place in the middle of a French class. What the reader might skip over the first time reading is the fact that the dialogue taking place is meant to express that the characters are speaking broken French. The inability for many of them to find words is what makes their descriptions of Easter seem so abstract, especially to other classmates.
To someone who had never heard of Easter, like the Moroccan student, that makes absolutely no sense at all. All of the students come from different cultural backgrounds and the majority of them are not yet fluent in French. Despite that, each of them uses their common knowledge to try and help one another to explain Easter, in a sad attempt to bestow knowledge to the clueless Moroccan student.
According to the narrator, it seems their efforts to describe such an abstract religious concept were in vain. Even though all of the dialogue represents broken French, the thoughts and biases of the narrator allow the reader a better understanding of what is taking place in the classroom.
The narrator never expresses what nationality he or she is, but it is most likely American because of the strong views about the Easter bunny that are expressed through the narration. After the long discussion of many religious traditions associated with Easter, the language barrier allows the narrator to reflect inwardly on faith. Much like religion, it is hard to understand and seems so impossible, yet there is still faith in the idea Sedaris Despite that, the narrator shows a great deal of growth in his or her own religious faith because the narrator makes a connection with the other students and their shared inability to master the language quite yet.
Behind all of the comedy and fast paced dialogue, Sedaris shares with his readers a much deeper message. He expresses through his characters that there is much more to religion than traditions and food, but instead what is most important is the idea of faith.
During many holidays religious people are often sidetracked by family get together, gifts, food, and candy, but there is always an important religious concept behind every holiday.
Works Cited Collins English Dictionary. Sedaris, David. New York: W. Wikimedia Commons.
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But as you keep reading, you see something different happening in the story. His classmates were at a different level of what he was, and the way he uses his sense of humor to describe the different way his classmates acted is pretty funny. He talks about the woman from Morocco, who is basically the class showoff. Thanks to the details he uses you are able to visualize even minor things that were happening in this classroom. When he says that the Moroccan woman leaned back in her seat and shouted the answers because basically she was just tired of raising her hand to answer all the questions is an example of the major but at the same time minor details he is including to make this story more appealing to the reader.
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