Reading Response With “Us and Them”

Joel Morgan   

Reading Response With Us and Them

“Us and Them” David Sedaris – David’s curiosity leads him to the living style of his neighbors the Tomkeys. He finds the family to be strange in the sense that they are a family without a television and not to mention the constant talk of this small town. He begins spying on them to try and figure out why this family is so different from his own. Which in a turn of events, leads him from curiosity, greed, then to anger.

We can all point to a time in our lives when our childhood inhibitions lead down a path that we can now see as embarrassing or degrading. Or at least I can. This story is a testament to how I view myself as a decent human being. Reading through the essay I found myself looking back to my own childhood and how I looked at other kids in my grade. I put myself through the eyes of myself at that time and saw the kids who were less wealthy than my family and how I looked at them with amazement and wonder, curious as to what they went home to at the end of the day. After months would go by and I saw that their clothes became more frequently used, the stench of use and lack of hygiene became ever more prevalent, my focus went more from curiosity to seeing them as beneath me. But as time went on I realised that although I had more than these kids, I wasn’t any more, or less happy than them. Then I began to shun them, ignore them, keep at a distance from them. They were different and yet the same and there is no way I could tolerate that.

“Us and Them” actually brought back a life lesson that I had seemed to have forgotten. Thats not to say I kept that childhood mentality, but I lost sight of why I no longer hold on to that ignorant mentality. It gave me a new light to see, where the only thing worse than making a mistake, is forgetting the lesson that was a result. Stories like this are important in that aspect, because it keeps us with a constant check with ourselves, and the moment we lose sight of that, is the exact moment we are destined to repeat our failures.


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