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Assignment 2 - English 110.01 Humor David Sedaris has an...

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English 110.01 11-1-07 Humor David Sedaris has an uncanny ability to use humor in almost any situation. He uses humor in many different ways throughout his collection of personal essays entitled Naked. In particular, Sedaris uses humor in similar, yet different ways in his two essays entitled “A Plague of Tics,” focused around Sedaris’s OCD, and “I Like Guys,” focused around Sedaris admitting that he is gay. In both essays, many instances of humor can be found, often in what seem to be inappropriate situations. Within the two stories, Sedaris uses humor as a defense mechanism and to explain the depth of a situation/condition to the reader, while also getting across his feelings of isolation. In the beginning of “A Plague of Tics, when Sedaris’s teacher was talking to him about how he licks the light switches in the classroom she says, “Would you like me to come over to your house and put my tongue on your light switches?” (Sedaris 7). In his head, Sedaris thinks to himself, “Why come here and lick my switches when she never used the one she had? Maybe she was drunk” (10). Here, Sedaris is using his humor both to poke fun at the person that is making fun of him, and to show the reader the depth of his condition. Sedaris’s teacher was making fun of him even though obviously something must be wrong with him mentally to compel him to go around licking light switches. Since she is making fun of his character, he wants to make sure that he, as a writer, is poking fun right back at her. And, on the lines of showing the depth of condition, his humor shows that he is truly alone with his condition. He himself doesn’t understand what it is that would make someone want to lick a light switch, so all he can do is make fun of it, showing that he is truly alone with his OCD. He can’t even make sense of it, and his only option is to use humor, showing how he feels isolated because using 1
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humor is the only way he can even attempt to cope with his OCD. Later in the story, Sedaris was riding in the car with his dad and felt compelled to touch his nose to the windshield of the car. His father told him not to, but he was forced to do it because of his OCD, so his father slammed on the brakes of the car, resulting in Sedaris slamming his nose into the windshield. (14-15). His dad asked him if he liked the feeling of that and he thought to himself, “Like was too feeble for what I felt. I loved it.
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