THE TWO MOORES 5
The book, The Other Wes Moore, looks at the lives two kids who havethe same name and grow up in the same neighborhood. They are bothfatherless and have a difficult childhood growing up. A first glanceat their similarities would make one think they were brothers. Theirdifference comes about in the paths that they end up choosing laterin life. One Wes’s path leads to that of a Rhodes Scholar andVeteran, while the other Wes’s path ends up in prison. Thismaterial tries to look at the lives of these two similar yetdifferent individuals, and how they got to where they are.
Wes Moore, the felon, was raised by his mother, Mary. His father,Bernard had abandoned them while he was still young and neverbothered about him. Mary was a college dropout and the conditionsthat she brought up Wes in, were not favorable for a child. Wes didnot seem to care about school, and his mother did not try to correcthim on this. She did not seem to care when Wes failed in the 6thgrade. Mary used drugs, which Wes came to learn of. When Wes foundMary’s marijuana, he decided to smoke it. His brother Tony is alsoliving a life of crime, and ends up influencing Wes. We see this as astepping stone into the world of drugs that ruins his life. Wes isset on a path whose “road signs,” are riddled with drugs andcrime as his guiding factor. His social environment and peers build anegative image in young Wes’ life, which he came to view as a norm.Wes eventually grows up into a life of crime that leaves him behindbars.
Wes Moore, the vet and Rhodes Scholar, lost his father when he wasyoung and had to be raised by his mother Joy. He had a poor childhoodfilled with temptations, but, his mother struggled to make sure thathe walked and stayed on the right path. Wes did not like the schoolthat he went to as he felt out of place. He constantly got intotrouble, but, his mother was always quick to scold him. She did notwant him to get into the life of crime that surrounded theirneighborhood. Whenever Wes went astray, he always had someone tocorrect him and guide him back to the right path. When normalschooling did not seem to be working for Wes, and he always gothimself into trouble, his mother along with his grandparents decidedto send him to military school. This is where his life began tochange for the better. It made him the great man that he is today.The military school and the values that his family had taught himhelped instill good morals in him.
From the story of the two children, we get to see a lot of socialturns that they made which ended up impacting their future lives. Forthe felon, his environment was made up of a lot of criminalactivities starting from his own home. He did not have a good rolemodel to guide him, and he thus made an unguided decision to try outthe life of crime in a bid to get out of poverty. This did not workout well for him. We also learn that Wes became a father at a youngage while working as a drug dealer. Wes does not stay out long enoughto be the father his children, as he ends up in prison. Wes had achance to change his life and lead an honest one, but, the littlemoney that he earned from the honest job forced him back into crime.He ended up getting into a shooting along with his brother Tony,which left a person dead. He is sentenced to life in prison.
The Vet and Rhodes Scholar also made a lot of life turns that led himto be the person that he is. Having been brought up in a troubledneighborhood, there were lots of temptations that could have led himtowards the wrong path. He, however, had a good role model (hismother), who was quick to correct him whenever he made wrongdecisions. The values that his mother taught him slowly, but,effectively made him understand right and wrong. While at themilitary school, Wes went through the guiding hands of Colonel Brattwho taught him about courage and honor. Wes’s visit to Africa madehim appreciate things more. The poor state of the neighborhood hevisited in Africa made him realize how privileged his childhoodneighborhood actually was. It is here that he also met a family thatmade him understand the importance of always appreciating the littlethat one has.
As the children grew up, they both expected to make it in life byfighting their way out of poverty. They were both determined to usewhatever means to make a good life for themselves. Both their motherswanted them to lead a good life away from crime and one, the RhodesScholar, was able to do so. The other Wes was not as privileged giventhat he had no proper role model to mentor him. However, his desireto get out of poverty made him lead a life of crime as this was theonly way he knew would make life good for himself and his family.
This story has been able to represent the role that society has on aperson’s life. We are able to see how the different socialbackgrounds of the children led to their different life choices. Theyboth had a rough childhood with no father figure to guide them.However, for the Rhodes Scholar, his life was able to turn around forthe better due to his mother’s values and for being sent to amilitary school. The other Wes was not as lucky as he did not haveanyone to correct his mistakes, and he instead had to teach himselfhow to survive through the criminal activities that went on aroundhim.
I enjoyed reading this book a lot as I found that I was able torelate to it. The book reflects on the different life choices that weare constantly forced to make as we go about our lives. This bookdoes not only tell a story of two boys, but, also tries to teach usof how the decisions that we make in life can impact it. I feeldisappointed that the other Wes’s mother did not put enough effortto ensure her son did not end up on the wrong path. The youth in thesociety can learn a lot from this book on how to negotiate about theproblems that they face in the society today.