In Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris uses humor to make the reader look inward and learn things about him/herself. The funny snapshots of his life contained in the novel all have a lesson attached to them. One important lesson Sedaris portrays in his novel is that money and objects cannot buy happiness, especially when these things are obtained through greed.
Children have a tendency to be greedy, as seen through Sedaris’ story Us and Them, when he tries to avoid giving his good candy to the Tomkey children who went trick-or-treating a day late. Although it is humorous to imagine a little boy stuffing his face with candy he should not be eating, Sedaris points out a strong truth when he describes his young self as “a human being, but also a pig, surrounded by trash and gorging himself so others may be denied” (12). This quote describes human nature, and the way people often act in selfish manners.
Another example of gorging oneself can be found in the character of Aunt Monie, the eccentric aunt who stops by once in a while but is still an important member of Sedaris’ family due to the wealth she leaves when she passes away. It is humorous to read about Aunt Monie’s lifestyle, with her new Cadillac every year, her maid and driver, and her nightly pork chop. However, through Aunt Monie, we realize money does not buy happiness. Her family built relationships with her based on her money, not her personality and love. She lived in a big house alone. Once David’s mother inherits some of the money, she realizes just how little happiness it brings as she avoids telling people so she can keep her current relationships without jealousy or being used and becomes “disappointed by how little pleasure [money] brought” (69).
Through humorous stories from growing up, David Sedaris teaches his readers valuable lessons about the importance of money and the disgusting realities of greed.