David Sedaris
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
The Silent Treatment

This chapter revolves around the strained relationship between the author and his father. Sedaris states that ever since he was a young adult, he found it difficult to relate to his father. Regardless, he continues trying to have regular conversations with his father, but it always seems awkward.

Sedaris begins by stating that nowadays his father gets dressed up to go to church, something he didn’t do in earlier years. He reports that when he was a child, his father never came close to spending time in church but only dropped him and his siblings off at church. His father would come later to pick them up when everybody else had left the church compound. His father simply didn’t like attending church services and instead would go golfing. These days, however, his father never missed a church gathering.

When the author would be left alone with his father, he would feel uncomfortable and awkward. He usually had nothing to say and the silence seemed loud between them. Sedaris wonders how other sons relate with their fathers since the extent of his relationship with him while growing up involved passing tools to each other. The author confesses that he was a difficult child and a disappointment to his father. He adds that the emotional distance between him and his father has been made worse as he got older.


The author describes what many people face with their parents especially when it comes to communication. It is clear he struggles to connect with his father emotionally since it has been the nature of their relationship since his childhood. The silent treatment is made worse by age since there exists no foundation of communication. The author, however, tries to initiate conversations with his father with the sense that his father is nearing his demise and might leave him feeling guilty.

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