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Working on the Problems of Writing

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jgdupont241
Words 1253
Pages 6
John Edgar Wideman’s Our Time is a story of the world he and his family grew up in. In the story, Wideman takes us through the life of his brother Robby. He tells this story from different points of view, using both his voice as well and Robby’s. While telling Robby’s story, he tries to open our eyes to multiple injustices and dilemmas both inside and outside of our legal system. In using Robby’s voice, Wideman attempts to tell Robby’s story from Robby’s own point of view. Wideman attempts to provide insight into Robby’s mind. I have trouble separating Robby’s words from Wideman’s.

In the story, Wideman tries to communicate what he went through growing up to the reader. In addition to using Robby’s voice, he also includes the viewpoint of their mother. Our Time starts off with Robby opening up about a very influential moment in his life; the death of his close friend Garth. Robby said to John, “It all started with Gar dying.” (Wideman, pg. 663).

Garth’s death was a major turning point in Robby’s life. It cast a shadow over Robby’s own life. Robby already had a negative, cynical outlook on life. And Garth’s death exacerbated it. Robby resented the doctors that they couldn’t do more for him.
“It’s our time now. We can’t let Garth down. Let’s drink this last one for him and promise him we’ll do what he said we could. We’ll be the best. We’ll make it to the top for him. We’ll do it for Garth.” (Wideman, pg. 663)
By saying this, Robby is letting the deceased control his actions. By giving Garth that control, he is giving up the control of his own life. Wideman breaks into Robby’s story to insert his own thoughts. By doing this, it almost sounds like Wideman is trying to justify Robby’s actions. Wideman says;
“It has to do with the fact that their world is the ghetto and in that world all the glamour, all the praise and attention is given to the slick guy,…...

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