Our Time John Widemans

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John Edgar Wideman's biography about his brother Robby Our Time can also be seen as a story about accepting responsibility. There were many things throughout the story that could have been blamed for Robby's robbery and murder conviction. One excuse could have been that Robby seemed to be born under a black cloud. He was born on December 29 which seemed a foreshadowing of his whole life for two reasons. First, his birthday, the most important day for a young boy, was associated with tragedy, because both of his grandfathers died on December 28, his grandmother on December 29, and his sister lost a baby early one January. The close of the year, which contained his birthday, was often a time of mourning, instead of his rightful time of joy and attention. His birthday celebration was also upstaged by Christmas. " (Wideman 679).

Robbie felt robbed of his individuality almost from birth. Robby's birthday symbolized how he felt he was not given the same opportunity of individuality the rest of his brothers had, and why he was so driven to make himself noticed. Another excuse for Robby's troubles was growing up in Shadyside. With the exception of a few other families, his was the only black family in the neighborhood. While they lived in Shadyside, the adults in his family wouldn't allow him to leave the white neighborhood, and, because he was cut off from the black community, he was extremely curious about them. He thought of black as the "forbidden fruit." He wanted to know what he was being kept from, and he couldn't understand why his mother and the other adults were keeping him away from it. Robby thought, "Black was a mystery and in my mind I decided I'd find out what it was all about. Didn't care if it killed me, I was going to find out" (Wideman 673).

Just before he entered high school, Robby's family moved into the black neighborhood of Homewood. Now he could find out what was really in those streets. As the youngest of his siblings, Robby...
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