Wideman Essay

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Stacey Vinson English 102 Wideman Paper Reaching Out John Edgar Wideman's essay Our Time is a deep, intimate story of trials and tribulations, the good times and the bad times in the life of his brother Robby. Throughout the essay, Wideman addresses a large audience consisting of people who differ in age and race.

After reading this essay, one might think the main audience of the story could be a lower class, uneducated individual who might live in the "ghetto" (201). However, after further evaluating the experiences in the story, one can understand how these situations could happen to any family.

Wideman's writing style is very detailed and descriptive. Using an unconventional style of writing, Wideman expresses Robby's thoughts as if they were coming out of his own mouth. "Snowing and the hawk kicking my ass but I got to have it . . . Need thirty dollars.

Thirty dollars buy us two spoons" (237) illustrates the "street language" Wideman uses in addressing a younger audience. Such words are commonly used among teenagers and young adults, so when reading them, one can in-vision what they are saying.

Many racial remarks addressing blacks are made throughout the essay as well. This type of language was normal for Robby considering that he was around blacks every day. "A dead nigger ain't really such a big mistake . . . probably a dope fiend or gangster. Wind up killing some innocent person or Vinson 2 wasting another nigger" (206), relates to the black audience who might read this essay. Such language as "nigger" might offend many that read this story.

Our Time relates to a wide audience, but I feel that a definite age and race make up Wideman's main audience. When thinking of past stories read in my classes, this story is not like a typical English reading assignment. It is a story I, as well as many others, can identify with because everyone experiences rebellious temptations and a period of growing up in their life, but many overcome such situations; where as, Robby continues to get worse. Wideman's style of writing and language used allows the reader to visualize the experiences Robby went through, and feel the pain he felt.