Wes Moore

The Other Wes Moore

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The Other Wes Moore Themes, Motifs, Symbols


Because the author became wrapped up in a story about another man with a similar background and name, the examination of the other Wes Moore then, by comparison and contrast, became an examination of himself. The story also ponders the effects of race, location, socioeconomic status, family and community on an individual’s identity, as well as the labels and/or status that gets attached to a person as they move through their lives: delinquent, Rhodes Scholar, father, soldier. The essential question the book attempts to answer is why these two men had such different lives, and by investigating these factors that contribute to the individual’s future, it presents a clearer picture of the whole person as a summary of these “parts”, personalities aside.

Choices vs. Fate

Crucial to Moore’s point and “call to action” is the notion that there are crucial moments and decisions in a person’s life that sets him/her on a particular trajectory. This is what makes the subtitle of the book problematic (“one name, two fates”) because the inclusion of “fate” implies that the Wes Moores’ lot in life was destined and set without their stir. However, the author argues that there were deliberate choices made in his life (some without his control) that were critical in the difference between himself and the other Wes Moore. He is clear to argue in the Afterword that it isn’t necessarily one moment or choice that determines a person’s success, rather a series of points or crossroads. By following the storylines of both men, an observer could pinpoint crucial differences in the choices the men made that made their paths so different from one another. Because their background was so similar and yet their outcomes so different proves that it was the decisions they made in their lives that was their determination.

Power of Mentors/Influential People

Wes Moore believes that if there is one thing that sets him and the other Wes Moore apart was that he had people in his life “who kept pushing ”. The forced re-location to military school,…

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