Literary Article Review: “Now We Are Five” by David Sedaris

In this essay, David Sedaris discusses the loss of his sister due to suicide as well as sharing a background on the relationships between his siblings and his parents, and how they all reacted to the loss of their sister and daughter. The main theme of this essay is the loss of a loved one and the effect it has on the ones left behind. In his essay, Sedaris says about his sibling’s loss, ” A person expects his parents to die. But a sibling? I felt I’d lost the identity I’d enjoyed since 1968, when my younger brother was born”. Though his family had a way of seeking their own lives and his sister who committed suicide had been keeping to herself, he considered family to be the most solid thing in his life.

I found the theme in this essay similar to the poem “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking“, by Walt Whitman. Whitman’s poem has a very raw nature to it, specifically relating to death and the longing of those left behind. In his poem, he replays the memory as a boy walking along the shore and watching the lives of two mockingbirds in love. One sad day, the female mockingbird doesn’t return to the nest a male cries out for his lost loved one.

Both the essay and this poem share how death affects those who are left behind after a loved one passes away. Though it is natural, it’s not something anyone expects or wants to happen.


Works cited:

Sedaris, David. “Now We Are Five.”.” New Yorker 23 (2013).

Whitman, Walt. “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking.”, Academy of American Poets, 27 July 2015,