In the book The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore, two people by the name of Wes Moore turned out to have different fates. One became a Rhodes Scholar while the other became a convicted murderer who’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison. How did one become more traditionally successful than the other? One can say that it’s because of how their mothers guided them and the environment they grew up around. Children don’t know any better, they depend on the guidance of a father, mother or even both.
Joy Moore, the mother of Wes Moore (the author) was there to guide him every step of the way and because of that, he became what he is now. “Get up to your damn room” came my mother’s command from the doorway “I told you, don’t ever put your hands on a woman! ” (Moore 5). From the age of three, Wes’s (the author) mother taught him to respect woman because respect can be one of the most important virtues a child can have. Psychology Today stated that children who learn respect at a young age tend to respect others and most importantly themselves by staying away from harmful substances such as alcohol and drug (Jim Taylor). “| knew my mother was considering sending me away, but I never thought she’d actually do it.
The final straw came one evening while she sat down on the phone listening to my dean from Riverdale explaining why they were placing me on academic and disciplinary probation” (Moore 87). Joy Moore expected Wes to do his best in school and to not get into trouble, but things did not go as she expected. Therefore, Joy Moore made the tough decision to send Wes to military school. The fact that she didn’t have the money for the school didn’t stop her. Without military school his life may have been completely different from what it is now.
Joy kept a close eye on Wes, she never gave up on him even when things got bad. The famous and educated man we all know as Wes Moore is what he is because of his mother, Joy Moore. “Crimes against children are the most heinous crimes. That, for me, would be a reason for capital punishments because children are innocent and need the guidance of an adult in society” (Clint Eastwood). “How do you feel? ” Mary asked intentionally speaking loud…. Mary laughed watching him squirm. ‘Well at least you know now how bad it feels and you will stay away from drinking,”she says” (Moore 62).
Shockingly there was no punishment for Wes (The other Wes Moore) Mary, Wes’s mom didn’t give him a talk. She acted like there was nothing to worry about. To Wes this meant that he could do whatever he wanted, with whoever he wanted without there being any consequences (from his mother). There’s a chance that this is the reason why Wes got into the whole drug business. He got the idea that alcohol and drugs were okay at a young age since his mother didn’t teach him differently. “She knew what her older son was into, but didn’t think that there was anything she could do for him now. She hoped it Wes would be different” (Moore 71).
Mary Moore chose to ignore the fact that Wes was starting to deal with drugs, her silence was so way of saying “go ahead Wes, I don’t care”. If only she would’ve had a serious talk with Wes, she could have taken him away from the path he had begun. If Mary would have been more active in her son’s life (like Joy was with hers) Wes (the other Wes Moore) would have been a completely different person. She could have made an impact on his life and let him down the different path, one similar to Wes Moore’s, the author of the book. “Our neighborhood was getting more dangerous, there was a rash of break-ins in the house around us” (Moore 29).
Wes Moore (the author) experienced only part of his life in a tough neighborhood unlike the other Wes Moore who never escaped. Wes had the opportunity to escape the horrendous environment which he called his hometown. The fact that he moved away from Baltimore gave him the opportunity to get away from all the chaos. The Bronx wasn’t much different from Baltimore but it wasn’t as bad. “Years earlier, I had run through these same woods with all of my might, looking for safety, trying to get away from campus. Tonight, I ran through the same woods looking for safety, but in the other direction” (Moore 122).
Apart from spending most of his time in Baltimore and New York, the author Wes Moore spend a good amount of time in Fort Payne. As time passed by, Wes’s view of safety changed. He saw military school as a dangerous environment but remembered his home in Baltimore which seemed safer to him. Fort Payne was like a second home for him, a home where he wouldn’t be able to get away with any sort of mischief. Wes went from a child who got arrested for vandalism to a teenager who has a great life ahead of him because of the fact that he went to military school.
The American Psychological Review stated that growing up in a poor neighborhood significantly increases the chances that a child will not graduate from high school, will get involved with drugs and end up jail (The American Psychological review- Cesar Mack). “Cherry Hill became a breeding ground for poverty, drugs, and despair” (Moore 28). In Cherry Hill there aren’t many opportunities for people, especially for young kids. It soon becomes clear why kids like Wes turn to the drug games. At the corner of the street all Wes could see is people selling drugs and doing drugs.
The environment which surrounded him as a child was full of uneducated people and drug addicts. “He walked down the broken blocks pass clusters of abandoned buildings, the glass from shattered windows on the sidewalks, junkies on the steps. He walked for miles through a steady drizzle trying to clear his mind while thirteen year olds ran drugs up and down the street” (Moore 138). The description of the area that Wes lived in shows how bad it the area was when he was a child. At one point in his life Wes was one of those 13 year old boys who ran drugs up and down the street.
In an environment like the one where Wes grew up it like an episode of survival of the fittest. All Wes did was survive the horrible conditions of the environment he grew up around. The Other Wes MooreOne name, two fates. The story of how two boys that are not much different from one another grew up to have a completely different life. The guidance of their mothers and the environment they grew up around are a few of the many factors that drove these men to their ultimate fate, one a successful scholar, the other a prisoner who has to spend the rest of his life in jail.