Newborn Thrown in Trash and Dies by John Edgar Wideman Short Summary

In the short story “Newborn Thrown in Trash and Dies,” by John Edgar Wideman, the narrator starts off with saying, “They say you see your whole life pass in review the instant before you die. How would they know? If you die after the instant replay, you aren’t around to tell anyone anything. ” Considering that the person who is about to die is a newborn, she haven’t been around long enough to review her life in a replay. So this newborn decided to instead of “reviewing” her life but to “predict” her life, as to how her life would’ve been if she did live long enough.

Based on the social and enviormental aspects of her surroundings, the newborn predicted that she would’ve had a pretty dyfunctional life. She predicted her whole life as she was falling down the trash chute, so each floor was a different phase of her “possible” life. First, the narrator speaks on the social surrounding of her life. She described how they people who live amongst her gambles, murder, and do other violent acts. She also says that it’s “very little wealth enters this cluster of buildings. ” So the people in her apartment building life is at a fast pace.

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They don’t work or make a honest living. It’s as if “every man is for their own. ” She didn’t speak of her father or any other relatives as a baby. So her father is absent and her mother is a teen mom. However, the mother is only 19 years of age and all alone with a newborn, confused and scared her mother doesn’t know what to do with her. She gave birth to her baby in a stairwell of her project home. Shortly, after giving birth she took the baby to a more wealthier apartment building called, “Gerald J. Carey Gardens,” and threw her down the trash chute.

According to the narrator the word “gardens” is a symbol for a green place where seeds are planted, tended, and nurtured. There had been a case whereas an another young mother threw her baby in the trash and her baby survived. This is what the narrator’s mother wanted for her baby, she hoped that the baby would survive and that someone would take her in and give her baby a better life than what she could give her. Furthermore, considering the low-class social and enviornmental surrounding the mother lives in, the narrator predicted a dyfunctional family she would have if she was to live into childhood.

She didn’t speak on having a “daddy,” not until she was a child. This man would take her in the room and molest her. He would tell her that it’s unhealthy to sleep with underwear. She had no choose but to let it happen because the mother didn’t believe her when she did try to tell, in fact she beat her for talking nasty and allowed him to beat her as well while the mother watched. She did have a stepbrother, who was murder through a gang bang shoot out. So the man who was known to be her “daddy” is actually her step-father.

As a result, she predict herself the typical project family, if her mother did decide to keep her; a single mother who gets with a low-life man and put him before her child. It’s sad to say but it happens. Majority of the time, it all depends on the type of social and enviormental surrounding you live in. But it doesn’t always have to be tragic, if you’re strong enough to overpower where you come from and look forward to where you want to go, you could have a successful life.

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Newborn Thrown in Trash and Dies by John Edgar Wideman Short Summary. (2017, Apr 03). Retrieved from