September 10, 2008
John Edgar Wideman’s “Our Time” is a fascinating story of his younger brother Robby and the troubles and difficulties he had growing up in the neighborhood of Homewood. Wideman puts a different aspect on this story when writing; he tells us the story from three different points of views. He does this to give us a better understanding of the characters in “Our Time.” This story is not just about his brother Robby, and the troubles he goes through in life. John Wideman puts so much of his own personal thoughts into the story making it a very affectionate and emotional piece of work. He shows us the struggles he faces and the adjustments he has to make when writing this essay.
Throughout the story “Our Time” by John Wideman, he struggled in many different ways as a writer. Keeping focused on telling Robby’s story and not his own was a major problem that Wideman encountered when writing. He had to listen to Robby, which he was not used to doing because he was so used to rejecting him his whole life. Wideman talks about this on page 696 saying “In the prison visiting lounge I acted toward my brother the way I’d been acting toward him all my life, heard what I wanted to hear, rejected the rest.” By saying this it clearly shows that John has a major weakness in that he has and still is never able to listen to his brother talk. If he was going to write this story accurately, Wideman knew that he was going to have to listen to Robby and take notes of what he was saying instead of making up a story and making it his own instead of Robby’s. Not only did Wideman not listen to Robby, he would often find himself takings Robby’s story and making it his own. On page 696 Wideman says “I had to teach myself to listen. Start fresh, clear the pipes, resist too facile and identification, tame the urge to take off with Robby’s story and make it my own.” When writing this essay I think this was Wideman’s...