How do you tell a story of a boy who was raised right but .
turned out wrong? Do you focus on key events during the course of his .
life, or do you examine his life in sequence from birth? In his .
compelling essay "Our Time”, John Edgar Wideman has the .
responsibility of telling the story of the boy who turned out wrong. .
The boy is Widman's younger brother and black sheep of the family .
Robby. Wideman uses three voices and three events to tell his brother .
Robby's story. The three voices that Wideman brings into his essay to .
help his readers understand why his brother "went bad” are the voices .
of his brother Robby, his mother, and himself. The three events that .
Wideman mingles into his essay to help himself come to an .
understanding of his brother and the troubles that plagued him are .
the tragic death of Robby's best friend Garth, the family's move to .
Shadyshide, (A predominant white neighborhood) and the time of .
Robby's birth. Why does Wideman present the three events the way he .
does? Is he trying to single out the event that caused Robby's .
downfall? Each event has an effect on Robby; an effect that would .
steer him towards drugs, crime, and involvement in a murder that .
would mean a life sentence in prison. Did Robby have bad luck? .
Imagine rolling the dice and seeing snake eyes come up or landing on .
the chance spot on the Monopoly board and picking up that little .
orange card and reading, Do not pass Go.Do not collect two hundred .
dollars.Go Straight to Jail. No, it wasn't bad luck; it started with .
Garth's death. .
During a visit to the prison Robby reassembles Garth's death to .
his brother, "Something had crawled inside Garth's belly. The man .
said it wasn't nothing. Sold him some aspirins and said he'd be all .
right in no time. The man killed Garth”(656). Garth died of a .
mysterious disease in the summer of 1975. The tragedy of his best .
friend hit Robby like a heavyweight slap in the face.