The Other Wes Moore Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis
PART I – FATHERS AND ANGELS
Wes begins this book’s first section with a re-telling of a visit he had with the other Wes Moore in the prison. One of the things both Wes’ have in common is their lack of a father. The author’s “father wasn’t there because he couldn’t be, father wasn’t there because he chose not to be” (3).
The narration begins with the author as a young child. He is in serious trouble with his mother after being caught hitting his older sister. Wes remembers hearing his father defend him because “it wasn’t his style to yell” (6).
Westley’s name also belonged to his father. HIs middle name, Watende, means “‘revenge will not be sought’…a concept that aligned with “his father’s gentle spirit” (6-7). “Our house was on a busy street that sat right on the border of Maryland and Washington, DC, stuck confusingly between two different municipal jurisdictions, a fact that would become very significant in the near future” (7).
Wes provides important background information of his mother’s and father’s history. His maternal grandfather had a dream of earning a theology degree from an American university. They moved to New York City and settled in the Bronx. Wes’s mother, Joy, attended university in 1968 and became a passionate member of the OASATAU (the Organization of African and African-American Students at the American University. “The battling organization elevated her consciousness beyond her assimilationist dreams and sparked a passion for justice and the good fight” (9). Here she met her first husband (and Wes’s older sister’s father). Once he got swept up into the growing drug scene, he became abusive. Joy left him with Nikki and “vowed to never let another man put his hands on her. She wouldn’t tolerate it in others either” (10).
Wes’s memories of his father are faint. He remembered that he idolized him. “I tried to copy his walk, his expressions. I was his main man. He was my protector” (11). Wes’s dad was an only son with fervent dreams of becoming a young TV reporter. He was able to eventually host…