In Brothers and Keepers by John Wideman

In Brothers and Keepers by John Wideman - Book Report and...

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Book Report and Critique In Brothers and Keepers by John Wideman, he expresses the diverse paths of two African American brothers while identifying affects of uncontrollable attributes and the consequences of ones actions. Both brothers, John and Robby, were born into the same circumstances and both faced constant challenges due to their skin color. Growing up in Homewood Avenue, a ghetto in Pittsburg, the young brothers were confronted by danger and poverty. An overarching theme of the book is the struggle of obtaining one’s freedom. Throughout the story, the idea of an escape (physical and mental) was presented and repeated. The brothers strived to escape their past and acquire complete freedom. In Brothers and Keepers, John and Robby both took drastically different approaches in an attempt to achieve their goals. Brothers and Keepers is divided into three major parts – Visits, Our Time, and Doing Time. The voice in the novel shifts from John’s grammatically correct writing to Robby’s simple slang. This dynamic allows the reader to observe the individuals’ distinct perspectives. John, the narrator, is an accomplished black man. Unlike Robby, John made the decision to leave the ghetto by graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. John relocated to a safe town in Wyoming where he worked a professor. Despite John’s marriage to a white woman, he still finds slight discomfort in living in a mostly white community. He spent much of his childhood in a ghetto where the majority of the residents were African American. I considered that such a radical change might had led to John’s personal battles with his own identity. John wanted to preserve his black roots while trying to also identity with the dominant Caucasian group. Class plays a major factor in the differences between John and Robby. In class, we’ve discussed that the “class” system is the result of any sort of unequal exchange. From an economic view,
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