The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates tells the story of two black men with the same name: Wes Moore. Both grew up enduring similar hardships, but Moore, the author and narrator, was encouraged to overcome them and became successful, while Wes, his counterpart, found himself sentenced to life in prison for murder. Moore learns of Wes’s existence and, fascinated, writes him a letter hoping to learn more about what led Wes to a life of incarceration. Moore receives a reply from Wes and begins visiting him in prison, where the two share their stories.
In the first part of the book, the two men discuss the impact their parents’ absence had on their lives, and their stories alternate in each chapter. In The Other Wes Moore Pdf, Moore introduces his mother, Joy; his father, Westley; and his sisters, Nikki and Shani. He explains how his parents met and describes his father’s work as a radio journalist. When Moore was three years old, he watched his father fall ill and die in front of him.
Meanwhile, young Wes never knew his father, Bernard, who was an alcoholic, but he loved spending time with his father’s mother, Mamie. One day, Wes’s mother Mary learns that her funding to go to college has been taken away, and her dream of getting a degree crumbles. That night, Mary has plans with friends, so she drops young Wes off at Mamie’s house for the night. When Wes arrives at Mamie’s, he sees a drunk man – Bernard – on Mamie’s couch. When Bernard asks Mary who the boy is, Mary introduces Wes to her father.
Several years later, Wes and his friend Woody go to the park, where they meet a group of boys to play soccer. The game turns aggressive and another boy hits Wes. Wes runs home and grabs a knife. He goes back to the park and runs after the boy, but the police arrive and arrest Wes. Wes is eight years old.
Around this time, Moore’s widowed mother Joy, unable to continue raising her children alone, moves her family to the Bronx to live with her parents. To keep Moore off the street, she sends him to Riverdale, a private school. She works three jobs to pay the tuition. Moore feels like an outcast. He doesn’t fit in at Riverdale and the neighborhood kids make fun of him for going to an all-white school. When Moore’s grades drop, Joy threatens to send him to military school.
Wes admires and envies his older brother Tony. Tony is very protective of Wes. Tony deals drugs, has a formidable reputation, and always seems to wear expensive, fancy clothes. Hoping to make money like Tony, Wes becomes a vigilante for a local drug dealer. Later he starts dealing himself.
In the next part of the book, Moore and Wes talk about growing up and second chances. Again, their stories alternate in each chapter. At fifteen, Wes makes a living selling drugs. When Tony asks Wes how he can afford so many pairs of sneakers, Wes lies and says he works as a DJ. Tony knows he is being dishonest, attacks him, and then tells Mary that Wes sells drugs. Mary finds drugs in Wes’ room and flushes them down the toilet. Wes is angered by the situation but vows to get back the $4,000 he has lost.
In the Bronx, Moore continues to do poorly in school. The police catch him tagging a building with his friend Shea, who has started dealing drugs. Shea is stubborn with the police, but Moore is terrified. The police let the boys go with a warning. A year later, Moore is on academic probation at Riverdale, so Joy sends him to military school. At first, Moore shows his attitude and defies his commanding officer, Sgt. Anderson. At one point, Anderson gives Moore a map with directions to the nearest bus station, encouraging him to leave. However, the directions are false and Moore gets lost in the woods. When Anderson finds him in the woods, he takes him to Colonel Batt, who allows him to call home for five minutes. The next day, Moore is impressed by the discipline of F Company, and Colonel Batt suggests that he talk to his commanding officer, Cadet Captain Ty Hill.
In Maryland, Wes meets Alicia, who quickly becomes pregnant. However, Wes soon starts dating a new girl and, one night, when the girl leaves Wes’ apartment, her boyfriend, Ray, is waiting outside. Ray yells at the girl and attacks Wes, who runs inside and grabs a gun. Wes and some of his companions chase Ray and shoot him. Wes is arrested shortly thereafter. He spends six months in juvie for the crime.
Three years later, Wes has dropped out of school and is dealing drugs full time. One day, Wes is approached by a suspicious man asking for drugs. Wes turns the man down, but decides to take a chance. However, the man is an undercover cop and Wes is arrested again.
Meanwhile, Moore thrives in military school, where he earns academic and athletic scholarships. One day, Moore and a friend go into town to get food. As they walk, a group of boys in a car accosts them, shouts racial slurs at them, and hits Moore over the head with a bottle. Moore and his friend find their way back to campus through the same woods where he once got lost. Moore reflects on how much has changed for him in recent years.
In the third part of the book, Moore and Wes talk about how the expectations of others have shaped their lives. While on a plane during his training as a skydiver, Moore contemplates how much his life has changed and considers how he now sees every moment of life as precious.
In Baltimore, Wes, now a father of four, tries to change his life and attends Job Corps for vocational training. There, his teachers and classmates encourage him and he succeeds. However, after graduating, Wes struggles to pay the bills and returns to selling drugs.
Three years later, Wes and Tony rob a jewelry store. In their escape, one of them shoots and kills the security guard, Sergeant Prothero. The police find them and arrest them in Philadelphia. Tony pleads guilty and is sentenced to life in prison. Wes pleads not guilty and goes to trial, where he is convicted and also sentenced to life in prison.
During this time, Moore works as an intern for Baltimore Mayor Schmoke, who encourages him to apply for a Rhodes Scholarship. Moore receives a scholarship and spends a semester in South Africa, where he witnesses real poverty and the impact of apartheid. At the same time, Moore learns how in South Africa young black men are encouraged and celebrated, rather than feared, and decides to dedicate himself to a life of service.
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