Jul 11, 2019 in Book Review

Our Time Essay Sample

John Wideman in his book Our time shows that most of the elderly  people in different families takes  great times to  mean that it is the time where there is a sense of community and unity and that those times can not be touched or broken up by oppression, slavery, discrimination in terms of race, and humiliation. He emphasizes further that, all these things will come to pass, and that there is greater arc of time than our lives, the elderly people are in better position to provide the strength that greater times can offer for a single life.

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Wideman`s writing represents the sense of the complex relationship between individuals and family, where in one sense, the family was a buffer against the outside world, offering the needed protection for every person. This meant that, there was privacy in everyone’s feelings and the family was used as the protective fence around each person’s privacy. And inside the perimeter of the fence each individual in the family lived in his or her own quarters. Therefore, according to Wideman, the family cooperation was a necessary entity in allowing each person to have the freedom to be themselves, to be in position to let their feelings and identity grow, deal with themselves as much as they could and at the same feel close to someone within the family. Thus, close community and sufficient private freedom are so vital and required in families (Eldon 67).


The perspective of the narrative on relationships in the family is more complex in that he shows that the privacy within the family members was a bridge between each individual, but every person had the responsibility to learn how to have to control. Therefore, as much as there is need for members of the family to be allowed to have a fence that enables them have freedom to cultivate their identity; the family had also to be kept sufficiently at bay. Each person is not just an integral member of the family, but also a separate entity .Everyone requires to have protection from both the outside world and from the family itself.Therefore,wideman`s attitude concerning family traffic is so ambient because he desires it and has the knowledge that a crucial family duty comprised of learning to have limits and to have control over it.Wideman thus, describes his relationship with his brother Robby with an oxymoron because of the complex structures affecting himself and his brother in their personal identities and family duties. This was when he visited Robby in prison, they were like familiar strangers. In this book Our Time, there is a shift from a relatively fixed and one dimensional perspective to a much more open and multiple one. Fore instance, from the start, John was focused on primary concern about himself, his tenuous relationship to the family, his feelings of guilt, anger, and fear about Robby’s future. This is because he assumes to be knowing what Robby’s imprisonment means and that he is totally cut off from contact, thus tearing apart the inter-subjective tie of the family linkage and  thus forcing Robby to be part of their father’s philosophy of aloneness, to threaten the tie that protects the family hence creating the bridge between Robby and Wideman and possibly also between Robby and the entire family.Therefore,Wideman used the voice of his brother to show that in every family, at least there must exist an individual who comes out to be on the wrong and in this story, Robby was portrayed to be the young boy in the family who messed up his life (Wideman 89).

Wideman also depicted his mother in the story to show the dangers posed to the family because of Robby’s imprisonment. Through her, we see a self-destructive binary perspective when she notes that the legal system is being unfair and there is possibility for them not to grant Robby her son any humanity. Thus, she develops hatred, bitterness hence losing the sense of the relativity of things like good and bad.

In conclusion, Wideman had the duty to narrating a story of his brother who became bad in their family and thus was imprisoned posing a great danger to the family connection. The narrator uses three voices to present the story and these voices of his mother, his brother Robby and himself. 

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