October 10th, 2012
I would like to thank the following peer reviewers for their excellent input on my essay. Alisha Galli QSR DR First Draft
Ashley Niemiec SR2
Nicole Colasanto AFW
Professor Veselits First Draft
“Our Time” by John Edgar Wideman is a homage to his brother, who is currently incarcerated for robbery and murder. Wideman goes into the depths of the jail where his brother is currently incarcerated and the family dynamics that he believes put him there. Robby’s best friend and the leader of his gang Garth was killed due to negligence and that is where Robby’s downward spiral began. His brother Robby was the youngest of their siblings and always felt excluded and sheltered from the real world in Homeland, which is a part of Pittsburg. Throughout this excerpt Wideman hones his writing skills in the sense that he accurately portrays his brother’s feeling and his own. The bond they build and then strengthen through their interviews. Most importantly he shows Robby’s struggles he has overcome with his family’s support. When Robby first started high school he felt pressure to live up to the expectations that had been set by his siblings. Here he tells John and the readers how he feels, People said, Here comes another Wideman. He’s gon b a good student like his brothers and sister. That’s the way it was spozed to be. I was another Wideman, the last one, the baby, and everybody knew how I was spozed to act. But something inside me said no. Didn’t want to be like the rest of youns (Wideman 678). I can understand where Robby would have felt the pressure to live up to what everyone expects of the younger sibling. I myself am the youngest in my family I have one older sister. Amanda is 20 years old and a junior in college. To say she makes my parents proud is an understatement she was accepted to Hofstra University’s Honors College and has a 3.9 GPA. From an early age teachers always said “Look here I have Amanda’s little sister in class” and on almost every report card it would say not as the same level as Amanda. All through elementary school I struggled a lot with math and school in general. So instead of focusing on school like my sister, I turned to sports. Every season I was running from soccer, to basketball, to swim team, and then to lacrosse. I had chosen a different path, which was hard for my family to accept. But it has made me the person I am today. In high school I eventually got my act together and began making star honor roll. My parents had always held me such an unreachable level I always felt I was disappointing them. Until I left for college I never really identified with my mother. She was always the driving force in our family, always pushing for more. So before I left when she sat me down and said to stay away at school I needed a 3.6 GPA I wasn’t as shocked as most people would be. I knew it was her way of motivating me but giving me an ultimatum never really worked. My family always supported me but made sure to motivate me just as much. Robby’s family showered him with love when what he really needed was tough love. Looking back at Wideman’s story I feel connected to Robby in a special way. He and I both were the black sheep in our family; we never really fit in the way we were supposed too. Although Robby chose drugs and violence over school, I choose sports, which is obviously less radical. Not all of Robby’s choices had negative impacts on the people he loved. His poor choices forced those around him to come together to support him and help guide him out from the darkest days. Our families supported and encouraged us but at the end of the day we carved our own paths in life and broke away from the pack. John successfully portrays Robby’s daily struggles with coming to terms with his choices and how he has hurt those he loves. Robby has continually...