In “The Other Wes Moore” the author, Wes Moore, tells the story of his life and compares it to Wes Moore’s life, a man who was born in the same area at the same time. The story takes place in the city of Baltimore around the year of 2000. Both Wes’s grew up in similar situation’s, raised solely by their mothers. Wes Moore the author grew up with only two memories of his father after he passed away while the other Wes Moore’s father left him and his mother before he was born. Both parents lived paycheck to paycheck and struggled to provide for their children.
Wes Moore the author had the support of his randparents, who end up playing a huge role in his success, while the other Wes had the support of his brother Tony, a well respected drug dealer. Both young men hung out on similar street corners with the same type of people and were having trouble in school with both their grades and behavior. Ultimately their friend groups lead them to run ins with the police, however a few key decisions took their lives down completely separate paths. As the other Wes grew up he got involved in the drug life, first only as a signaler, but progressively got deeper into the lifestyle.
Once he found out his girlfriend was pregnant he began selling drugs, and in his mind that was how he was going to provide for his family. His girlfriend becoming pregnant was the thing that pushed Wes over the edge into the lifestyle his brother Tony tried to keep him out of. I do question the decision making process behind this decision, however I understand as a man the strong sense of need to provide for your family and doing that at all costs. At the same time, Wes the author was going through his own hardships struggling in school and getting caught doing graffiti by the police.
The difference is that Wes’s mother Joy decided he had had enough and was sending Wes to military school. This is where the support from Wes’s grandparents and other family members really comes to play as his mother scraped up every penny she could, asking family members to chip in. During this chapter of Wes’s life, he was shaped into the man he is today, a Rhodes scholar, military veteran, and a collegiate athlete hall of famer Although he didn’t want to be there and felt neglected by his mother’s decision to send him there, Wes soon realized he was in a much different environment than the streets of Baltimore County.
As Wes settled in colonel Bratt, his commander, took Wes under his wing and taught him new values such as honor, sacrifice and courage. I personally agree with Joy’s decision to send Wes to military school. She realized that even with her strict parenting he was still slipping in to the lifestyle provided by the environment and culture of Baltimore. Wes Moore the author had all of this available too him thanks to his protective family, which is described in the book by Moore and Asay as a family “low in conversation and high on conformity. ” (pg. 07, 2013)
While the other Wes Moore had more of a pluralistic family that is high in conversation but low in conformity. This llowed Wes to fall through the cracks and get into his drug life, by the time his mother Mary realized he was selling drugs he was already in too deep. Joy did a great job throughout the entire decision making process, identifying wants and needs, evaluating and reevaluating constantly. I feel that it was pivotal for her to let Wes try to figure it out on his own at a young age and offering him the guidance necessary.
Once she felt he wasn’t figuring it out and her guidance wasn’t enough anymore her decision to send him to military school was the right call. The other Wes didn’t have the same guidance that Wes Moore the uthor had, nor did he have the choice to grow up slowly as he was forced to become a man at an early age to provide for his young family. However, Wes still made the right decision at one point in hit life, giving up the drug life and going to a company called Job Corps where he earned his GED and obtained a job as a carpenter.
However, his salary wasn’t enough money to provide for his family and very quickly found himself back in the lifestyle he hated so much. This was the major decision that cost Wes the rest of his life in prison. There were definitely other choices he made that got him here, such as trying to shoot his irlfriends cousin after he beat Wes up which landed him in jail for 6 months on a charge of attempted murder. Who knows what effect that had on a young Wes Moore, as a prison environment is much worse than the streets of Baltimore.
However, when Wes got out of prison the first time it seemed as though he was turning his life around for the better, earning an honest living and not succumbing to all the pressure surrounding him. His decision to get back I the game was solely off the need of his family, his four kids and his mother needed more than his carpenter job was providing. I can not say I ompletely blame him for wanting to provide for his family, but the route he chose to go about that was wrong. Even after he saw first hand what drug addictions were doing to families and individuals he still chose to sell drugs and to me, that is a huge character flaw.
Some may blame Wes’s mother Mary for bad parenting or not paying enough attention to her son when in reality she was a good parent Wes just made some key wrong decisions that lead to his demise. Your parents can’t do it all for you, there’s something’s in life you have to figure out on your own. During one of Wes’s first visits at the correction center the ther Wes Moore said to him “Your father wasn’t there because he couldn’t be, my father wasn’t there because he chose not to be. Were going to mourn their absence in different ways. (Moore, Pg. 3, 2011)
This speaks tremendously to the different effects the loss of, or lack of a family member can have on children and how those two things can have such different effects. This leads me to the conclusion that it wasn’t necessarily the parenting that sent these two young men down different paths, but instead their own personal choices as young adults. The other Wes Moore didn’t have to go out and get involved in he drug scene and get a girl pregnant at a young age, those were his decisions.
I do however understand that young children are very impressionable and if he had stricter parenting maybe his life would have been different. However, as Wes’s older brother Tony said, “You have the potential to do so much more, go so much further. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink right? ” (Moore, p. 72, 2011) In my opinion this speaks volumes to the stubbornness of the other Wes Moore, even though he had so many people trying to keep him out of the drug lifestyle, he still chose it.