Paper 1, Rough Draft
Response to John Wideman “Our Time”
John Wideman’s “Our Time” portrays a different side of a convicted felon that is often never seen. His brother Robbie was sentenced to life in prison after being involved in a murder and robbery. Writing a book about his brother was something he had never done before and shows a very interesting approach to getting the reader’s attention. Due to the fact that he had never written a book like this before Wideman had to overcome some obstacles he had never faced before. As Wideman began writing the book he realizes that he has a hard time grasping the fact that he is a successful novelist and his brother a felon. Throughout the passage Wideman speaks to the reader often expressing the necessity to learn how to put himself in his brother’s shoes and listen to his story, without distorting it with his own perception, in order to truly understand his brother. With no true begging, middle, and end the passage is broken up into three parts that show how the book comes together.
Wideman begins the text with one of Robby’s close friend’s deaths, Garth. John, a highly educated man, does an excellent job in describing the cause of the death, the funeral, and the way it affected Robby but the detail and the words used to explain foreshadow one of Wideman’s struggles he has in writing this book. John then expresses some experimental writing strategies in order to give his readers a true since of not only who Robby is, but how he actually talks and the message he tries to get across. John visited Robby for the maximum time he could which was three hours. It wasn’t easy to get the conversation going. John says “we were ready to talk. It was easy to begin. Impossible. We were neophytes, rookies (Wideman 674). Wideman had kids that Robby had never seen before thus giving them something to start their conversation. Even though the amount of time they got to spend talking was very limited John...