Us and Them

Essay by shadokyrJunior High, 8th grade October 2014

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Howie Chong


Honors Language Arts Period 7

22 March 2013

Us and Them

Many think strangeness, doing something different from everyone else, is a bad thing, but it is not. They treat these different people as inferior to them. It is just difference from everyone else. It may even be normal to others. No one should be despised just because their actions are contrary to most peoples' actions. In the story "Us and Them," David Sedaris, the author of the story, tells of himself as a young boy disliking a strange family called the Tomkeys, and ends up looking shameful. He uses a variety of literary techniques to teach the importance of family and that discrimination against difference is not right. He also tells of shamefulness.

This theme is shown in the very beginning, where the narrator, who is Sedaris as a naive third grader, and his family move to a new neighborhood and find out about the Tomkeys.

The Tomkeys do not own a television, even though everyone in the neighborhood does, including the narrator's family. The narrator finds this quite strange because everyone else is watching TV with their families while the Tomkeys are just socializing and being part of a conversation. In reality, the Tomkeys were just like any other family, except they did not own a TV and most likely had a stronger family bond than most. Sedaris compares and contrasts his family to the Tomkeys to show how technology has influenced their lifestyles. Sedaris's family cannot get enough television, and the Tomkeys spend time together. "They had no idea how puny their lives were, and so they were no ashamed that a camera would have found them uninteresting. They did not know what attractive was or what dinner was supposed to look like...