Calypso
David Sedaris
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Now We Are Five
Summary

Now We are Five covers a sad yet funny memoir on the suicide of Tiffany, the author's sister, which brought the number of the remaining children to five. Here, Sedaris reflects on the memories that he had gathered together with his family and in the presence of their younger sister before she committed suicide. The author takes the reader on a journey of enlightenment about the impacts of losing a sibling. It gets emotional as illustrations are made, but the author tries to maintain a cheerful spirit for the reader whilst still passing the desired message. Sedaris employs flashbacks as well as comparisons to meet the purpose of describing to the reader the extent to which the loss of a loved one affects the involved family.

The author reminisces about the memories of his childhood when the family was complete with all the siblings. He recalls memories of how, during their childhood, they would crowd their small cottage house door like puppies yearning for food in a small bowl. The author further narrates how their family summer trips were exciting when they would visit their cottage. His childhood was filled with exciting trips that yielded fun and memorable events in his life. A gloom mood is felt when the author compares the childhood memories with similar visits to the cottage after the family lost their sister Tiffany. The author uses the comparison of the older memories with the newer ones to denote the change the family has experienced.

Sedaris makes use of repetition to emphasize the points he wants the reader to comprehend. For instance, he keeps on repeating how his parents had six children. The repetition and emphasis of this fact shows the reader how big his family was. The number six also is significant to the author since it shows the extent to which he was used to the complete number of the family, and how now it feels sad to be just five.

Analysis

Right away, the topic of this chapter indicates a loss. The chapter introduces the reader to the inner and deeper feelings of the author by informing the reader of the death of his sister Tiffany. Sedaris lets the audience in to his emotional feelings about the change in the number of his siblings. As much as the topic seems very moving and sad, the author finds a funny way of dealing with the death of the sister. He ends the story by recalling a dialogue with a colleague where he exclaims that they are now five children and it's a significant number. The statement provides an ironic connotation of five being a considerable number yet six is the more significant number.

The author outlines his feelings to the reader through the use of comparison and repetition. Sedaris compares his childhood memories when they were a complete number with the recent memories to show how deeply he feels hurt by the death of his sister Tiffany. The number five, which the author keeps repeating, explains a gap that Tiffany left that will never be filled whatsoever. Sedaris communicates a story that those who have lost a loved one can relate to by motivating people to keep the memories of the departed members alive beyond honoring them.

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