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In David Sedaris’ “Jesus Shaves” the misconception can be seen in students’ attempts to explain the historical background of Easter to their Moroccan classmates. It was a French class, and everyone was supposed to talk only in French, so it might seem that the language barrier was the only issue that impeded understanding. However, in addition to the language barrier, the cultural barrier also took place.
It is challenging to explain the concepts of Christianity to a person of another religion, not to mention the connection between the cross and resurrection and the Easter bunny. As the narrator puts it, “the problem had to do with grammar. Simple nouns such as cross and resurrection were beyond our grasp” (Sedaris 464). When the narrator learned about the Eastern bell’s existence, he could hardly believe it because it differed from the cultural upbringing that did not allow him to accept it.
Similarly, when the narrator told the teacher that it was the bunny who brought chocolate, she “sadly shook her head” as the bell was a natural piece of her culture’s history (Sedaris 464). Nothing from this discussion helped the Moroccan classmate, she was confused even more. In the end, the narrator asked himself, “if, without the language barrier, my classmates and I could have done a better job making sense of Christianity” (Sedaris 465).
I think, even the perfect knowledge of the language could not solve the problem of misperception because it addressed more significant social issues such as cultural barriers. Moreover, the narrator did not see the way this barrier influenced him, as he separated the students according to their nationalities, which created a sense of miscommunication.
Sedaris, David. Jesus Shaves. Edited by Kelly J. Mays. 12th ed., Norton, 2016.