In “My African Childhood,” David Sedaris talks about his own childhood in comparison to
his friend Hugh’s. From David’s perspectives, Hugh’s life was so fascinating and fulfilled, while
his own seemed to be inane and dull. Besides, Hugh’s childhood stories were so adventurous
that they made David’s life in North Carolina appeared ordinary and simple, even though,
David’s surroundings were just as normal and safe environments as any average American boy
would have. Illustrating both childhood experiences, David favored Hugh’s one over his own
by describing the differences in school activities, vacations, and even living properties.
The variance between two boyhoods was set by living in two different countries with a gap in
cultural differences. What seems to be awkward and inappropriate for ones was quite permitted
and acceptable for others. Such something small as having a pet monkey in Hugh’s family, and
throwing stones at crocodiles, or seeing a fifteen-foot python wandered onto school’s property
perhaps was very usual among African kids. Some of Hugh’s field trips, whether they were
beneficial or not in learning process, for sure were different. Above all of them was the
Ethiopian slaughterhouse where children witnessed a piglet’s execution. Even Hugh’s vacations,
during which his family visited neighboring countries, gave an appearance of living a dream life
for a young boy. On the other hand, David with his cat and dog as house pets
and typical boylike activities lived his life in North Carolina. During his school years, the most
remarkable experience he could recall was a trip to preserved villages in Old Salem and
Colonial Williamsburg. Even more ordinary sounded David’s vacations which he spent in
eastern part of his state, with beaches and restaurants enjoying the time of his life or may not.
The differences between families and their statuses are also resulted in childhood
dissimilarities of two boys. ...