David Sedaris's Short Story Jesus Shaves

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David Sedaris’ short story “Jesus Shaves” is a humorous telling of an important message. While he makes the subject seem light, the overall message shows how communication and cultural barriers can prevent us from growing together as a society. He also shows how we do not necessarily try to understand other cultures and often give up in the process. By giving up we allow for our differences to continually divide us which causes ignorance and bigotry. The conflict of this story is language and cultural barriers. The climax of the story occurs when the protagonist discovers that he is faced with a cultural barrier and is unable to accept it. In order to understand both the conflict and climax of this story, I will use textual evidence and detailed…show more content…
Because the story is a first-person narration it is likely that the protagonist is the narrator, this is the case in “Jesus Shaves”. The narrator’s name is never mentioned but through the narration and the plot, it can be inferred that he is the protagonist. As he works his way through a French class his character changes due to the antagonist, the Moroccan student asking a question about Easter, a religious holiday the character is unfamiliar with. Going into the class the narrator is not prepared but still determined to learn a new language and culture. Once the student asks about Easter he finds out that the questioner is not the only one in there with an unfamiliar culture. “My classmates reacted as though I’d attributed the delivery to the Antichrist. They were mortified” (Ibid, 464). He quickly discovers that he is not on one side of the cultural divide but two sides. He neither understands nor is understood. This series of events leads to him questioning the reason for learning a new language and inferring that he would rather be ignorant because he doubts his ability to learn. This change in the protagonist proves that the Moroccan student is the

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