In John Edgar Wideman’s Essay “Our Time”

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Chelsea Avery
English 101
In Class Essay One
March 1, 2013

In John Edgar Wideman’s essay “Our Time” he explores the experiences his brother Robby went through and circumstance that led Robby’s imprisonment while he became a well-recognized writer. He considers how someone from your family, grow up the same way as you could live such a different life. Wideman tries to work out why Robby goes to jail in his mind. He tried to understand as someone that lives under the same roof as you can end up on a completely different direction in life. Bases on my understanding their background was not the best they lived in a rough and poor community and faced a lot of challenges in life. Unfortunately there comes a time in your life when you have to stop blaming everyone else and realized that you made these choices and there is no one to blame but yourself.

“In the real world, the world left for me, it was unacceptable to be good it was a square to be smart, it was jive to show respect to people”. Wideman and his family grow up in a community with a high level of crime and drugs life. To make it there world you had to be a gangster, that’s the only way people would respect you. Robby and all his friend followed in those footsteps. They hung around that crowd that was not making anything of themselves. Robby did not have to blame himself for this, the whole community was set in these ways. They believed that the “white folks” were out to get them. They look at it was “dog eat dog world” everyone had to fin for themselves. Wideman quotes his mother “that these boys don’t feel like real men and how could they out there on the streets doing wrong, but can you blame them. No job, no money in their pocket. How they supposed to feel like me”? I believe that Wideman’s mother is saying that, since no one expect better from us and will not let us or help us better ourselves what do you expect. She is blaming the “white people” for the wrong that her son and his friend do...
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