Wes Moore

The Other Wes Moore

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The Other Wes Moore Major Character Analysis

Wes Moore (author)

The book’s biographer set out on a quest to research this other young man named Wes Moore when seeing articles about each other in The Baltimore Sun. His story featured his success as a Rhodes Scholar, while the other Wes Moore was convicted of armed robbery. How could two young, black men with the same name, growing up in the same city and neighborhood, have such different lives? Wes tells both stories with compassion, yet a distanced honesty. He tries to balance all of the factors that influenced each man’s life with immense gratitude and a deep pride.

Joy Moore

Without Joy, the author’s life may have ended up much like the other Wes Moore. With the sudden and tragic loss of Wes’s father’s life, Joy summoned all of her strength to move to New York City in order to live with her parents and give her children the chance at a normal life. Her parents were proud, hardworking people and the Moore family took care of each other, even when that meant instituting tough boundaries and great sacrifices.

The Other Wes Moore

The author’s doppelgänger had a similarly difficult early childhood, moving around frequently with a mother just trying her best to keep her children safe. Wes’s only real role model was his older brother Tony, but he gave into the pressures of the street, dealing drugs at the young age of ten. Wes never really had a strong sense of purpose or ambition and so never took control of his life. He became a father very young, was a high school dropout, and had his share of prison time before his final sentence. While open with Wes (the author) about his story, the biographer notes that Wes never took full responsibility of where his life ended up, considering himself more a victim of circumstance and location rather than a man in control of his fate.


Tony meant well and tried to steer Wes away from the life he led himself, but there is only so much convincing a person can do when they don’t lead by example. He was a…

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