all started with Gar dying."
Robby tells the story of his crime, and Wideman re-tells it to the reader,
they both lead off with Garth's death. What makes this death a better
starting point for Wideman's essay than, say, Robby's birth? In your answer,
make sure you discuss a specific detail in Wideman's description of Garth.
death is a solid starting point for the story because Garth is
a stable point for Robby. Once Robby has lost his stableness, there is
person for him to relate to. "He [Robby] had a match in Garth"
Descriptions of Garth are personal, caring descriptions showing the
reader that Robby has related to, and drawn strength from Garth. "His
[Garths] smooth, medium brown skin [was] yellow" (708.) Robby
shows that he
wants to make Garth as comfortable as can be when he goes into the ward:
wanted to reach over and hide his friends arm under the covers
wasted to belong to his friend (708/709.) Ultimately, "he knew hed
Other descriptions of people from Robby are sharp and uncaring: "they
both got on police shoes. Police brogans you could spot a mile away. But
think they slick" (741.) Descriptions such as these show that these
arent worth two cents to Robby. Even the relationship to the brother
comparable to the one that Robby had with Garth. Robby says something
effect; he wouldnt be telling his brother this unless he was all
this honesty stuff when beginning his narration.
To know why both brothers began their story with Garth you need to know
why their sharing their lives. They both had different reasons for starting
with Garth. I believe Wideman's reason is because he "was the visitor
from outside"; He did not know his bother or his brother's story,
but he did know Garth's story (722).
Wideman used Garth's death as a door to enter a familiar area of his brother's
life. Even through this door Wideman's "recollection of details were
vague" (713). Robby's life was tremendously effected by Garth's death,
and it went by barley noticed by Wideman. So why did Wideman chose Garth?
Because he didn't know him. Garth's friendship with Robby represented
the distance between the two brothers. Wideman chose Garth because Robby
"had a match in him"; Garth was the one who "did better
than most" (715). Wideman knows when Garth died it "killed part
of his" brother, but Wideman still doesn't know why; he just understands
Garth's death played a major role in Robby's fall (716). This is when
Wideman should have listened to his mothers words, instead of "get[ing]
angry at his brother" (714).
Robby's reason was simple. To Robby Garth's death represented the end
of the beginning, and the beginning of the end. "He had a match in
Garth"; Robby was forced to watch the better half of himself die
slowly (715). This was the time in his life when he needed some to find
a "way to make it special" (713). Garth was the friend that
kept Robby's dreams alive. Robby mostly remembers Garth lying next to
death in the hospital being able to look at Robby and say "your the
best" (709). Garth stood for everything good in Robby. Garth's smile
made Robby try to live up to the image in Garth's mind; Robby knew "he'd
let Garth down" (713.). Robby just didn't know how much he would
let Garth down.