In The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. Moore states, “The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his” (180). In my opinion, this statement is true, depending on how people interpret it. I see it as yes, it is a tragedy that Wes II did not end up a successful man as Wes I did. However, they both had turning points that could have drastically changed their fates. The only difference was that Wes I had more people helping sculpt him into a wonderful man, and unfortunately Wes II did not.
I believe that the environment, mom’s decisions, and teachers all contributed into who these two young men would turn out to be in life. Wes II began to fall into the drug game like his older brother, Tony, at a young age and his mom flushed his drugs down the toilet. Mary did not lecture him, or give him more than a sentence. She just acted like she did not care that he had to find a way to repay someone four thousand dollars for the drugs she flushed. I believe that she just gave up on her son, because of the fact that Tony had already fallen into the same life style, Wes Il was bound to do the same.
Because Wes Il’s father was not in his life, Tony was a role model for Wes II. Wes II wanted to be like his older sibling, but Tony did not want the same life for Wes II. How can I expect someone to listen to me, if I do not lead by example? It is like trying to teach a baby to walk while you’re crawling. It’s simply not going to happen. I believe to a certain extent that Mary could have done a little more to help her son become a better person. She should have been involved in his life more.
Mary is at least partially responsible for her son’s fate, because even though she tried once, she wasn’t persistent, as Wes l’s mom was. She could have done as Wes l’s mom did and sent him to a better school. She simply tried once and that was it. As Wes I states, “These forks in the road can happen so fast for young boys; within months or even weeks, their journeys can take a decisive and possibly irrevocable turn. With no intervention-or the wrong intervention-they can be lost forever. My mother made the decision to intervene-and decided that overdoing it was better than doing nothing at all” (95).
In other words, Wes I believes that if there is no intervention kids are destined to fall into the wrong paths. Wes Il’s mother, Mary, intervened once and thought that would be go enough, but it wasn’t. Maybe if she would have been persistent with her punishments, Wes II would not be where he is at today. I believe that if Wes II’s mom would have intervened more in his life, like Wes l’s mom, Wes II would have had more of a chance at getting ahead in life. When Wes I was doing badly in school, Joy brought it to his attention. She began to notice her son was changing, and it wasn’t good.
Then he hit his sister, whether by accident or on purpose, Joy had, had enough. Joy unlike Mary gave every last dime to send her son to a better school. She was determined not to let her son become victim of the system that had been taking many children. I believe that if Joy had not done this, Wes I would not have ended up in the drug business to like his friend Shea, and in jail on a possession with the intent to distribute charge. The choices mom’s make to help better their children makes a huge difference in a child’s life. As due role models, or father figures.
Tony, being Wes Il’s role model, should have done more to be a good father figure in his younger brother’s life. I believe that if Tony would have never taught Wes II to “send a message” every time someone disrespected him, Wes II would not be doing life in prison. When Ray humiliated Wes II in front of his friends, Wes I could only hear the words Tony had told him “send a message” (104). This made Wes II mad and caused him to shoot Ray and go to jail for it. Tony contributed a lot to Wes Il’s demise. Maybe he didn’t want too, but he did.
As Tony states, “You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink, right” (Moore 72)? In other words, Tony believes that you can tell someone that they can do so much more and point them in the right direction, but if they choose not to listen there is not much one can do. It is up to that person to take the first step in the right direction. In this situation Wes II could have chosen to not shoot Ray and not get into an altercation. Yet, he didn’t. If Wes II would not have listened to his older brother’s words, Wes II would not have gone to jail or even gotten in trouble.
Wes I also made similar choices, but the difference was he had a family there ready to guide him in the right direction when he messed up. Wes II only had bad influences in his life, including his father. Because Wes Il’s father was not around, when Wes II got a girl pregnant at 15 he wasn’t ready to be a father. I believe that because he didn’t have that father figure in his life he did not know how to be a father to his first son. Moore states, “Wes’s nonexistent relationship with his father probably contributed to his seeming indifference about becoming a father himself.
All he knew was his mom. He had no idea what his role would be in this new situation he wasn’t even sure he had a role” (101). In other words, Moore believes that because of the lack of relationship Wes II had with his father, Wes Il’s role is not clear to him. All Wes II knows is the absence of his father in his life. This could have been a turning point for him, and Wes II could have decided to break the cycle. Yet, he chose not to. I believe Wes || chose to see the wrong people as role models. His greed for materialistic things blinded him from seeing the bigger picture.
Yet, when he decided to leave the drug business alone, and actually pursue a career, he ended up going back to his old habits. I believe it was Tony that convinced Wes II to steal from the jewelry store. I believe Wes II trusted his older brother to guide him and Tony failed him. Wes I also had influences in his life, especially at Valley Forge Military School. Wes I also made bad choices, but his family was there ready to help him and guide him. Joy was his support, and when he tried to run away from military school she was there to remind him that he can’t keep running.
Joy being a great support system for her son is one thing I believe helped her son be the successful man he is to this day. Wes I had family that would push him ahead, while Wes II had family that would bring him down. I believe that family is key to our success. If you don’t have someone there to guide you and teach you the good, how are you going to learn? Wes l’s grandfather was a great role model for Wes because he was a hardworking man, very respectful, and had family morals. Wes I whether knowingly or not knowingly was learning from his grandfather just by being around him.
The day after Wes I tried to run away from military school, Wes I saw Colonel Bratt, the man whose presence dominated the room, demanding not only focus but respect (Moore 94). Wes I states, “I had never seen a man, a peer, demand that much respect from his people. I had seen Shea demand respect in the neighborhood, but this was different. This was real respect, the kind you can’t beat or scare out of people” (96). In making this comment, Moore believes that he had seen for the first time what real respect was.
I believe that this was one of the most important factors in Wes| being more successful, because he actually got to see what real respect is. Without having to beat someone up to get it. I believe that this helped Wes I see how he wanted to be respected and how to get that respect was much different from what he was accustomed to. If Wes I would have been in the same environment, and tried to change. I believe he would not have succeeded in becoming the successful man he is today. I believe this because I believe his friends that are bad influences would have pointed him the other direction.
I believe that is what happened to Wes II and why he went back to his bad choices. Both these young men had the almost identical, same life. Yet, one is successful, while the other in prison for life. Why? If we look into the family, friends, and environment it all contributed to one’s success and the others demise. While Wes I was pulled away from the environment that was poisoning his mentality. Wes II was suck in it. Moore states, “That’s when I started to understand that I was in a different environment. Not because I was in the middle of Pennsylvania instead of the Bronx or Baltimore.
It was a different psychological environment, where my normal expectations were inverted, where leadership was honored and class clowns were ostracized” (96). In other words, Moore believes that the environment in which he was placed in helped him grow, and the environment in which children are in will help determine who they are going to be. Both, Wes I and Wes II, had the city to get out of that environment and become so much more. Wes II was a smart man as was Wes I. Yet, I believe it was family that really made difference in their lives. Wes l’s family put all their money together to help get him ahead.
Wes II did not have that support. Wes II had his mom, who was also doing drugs, and his brother who was also in the drug business. Wes || didn’t really have the support, or someone who believed in him, to help him get him out of the tragedy of a destiny that awaited him. Moore states, “Young boys are more likely to believe in themselves if they know that there’s someone, somewhere, who shares that belief” (28). In other words, Moore believes that if children have a strong support system of people who believe in them they are more likely to believe in themselves, and turn their dreams into goals and make them reality.
A very important quote that will stay with me forever is when Moore states, “The choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave” (185). In making this comment, Moore believes that the choices we make in our life time will determine who we will be in life, and what imprint we will leave in this world and the lives of others. The imprint that both of these men leave in the world I believe are the effect of the life they lived. Anything is possible, but having a strong support system I believe is crucial during teenage years.