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The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates Summary & Study Guide

Wes Moore
This Study Guide consists of approximately 47 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Other Wes Moore.
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The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates Summary & Study Guide Description

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore .

This study guide refers to the following version of the book: The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore, New York: Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, 2010.

The book is broken up into eight chapters. Each chapter represents a slice of life of both men in a single given year. The first half of the chapter describes what one man was doing in this year, and the second half of the chapter checks in on the other man. To avoid confusion in this section of the study guide, both men’s lives will be discussed separately.

In the book, the author refers to himself as “I” and to the other Wes Moore as “Wes.” In this summary, the Wes Moore who went to prison will also be referred to as “Wes.” The author will be referred to as “Moore” when the summary describes what is happening in the book. The author will be described as “the author” when style and technique are analyzed.

Moore was born Westley Watende Omari Moore in a neighborhood that bordered Maryland and Washington, D.C. His parents were news writers. His father died when he was very young after contracting a rare, deadly virus. The hospital staff had not taken him seriously, possibly because he was black. He died partially because of negligence and partially because of racism.

His mother worked hard to send him to private school. This was the first time Moore learned that there were other ways people lived. There were rich kids here, and he had to be two different people: the good kid at school and the tough kid on the street.

He did not fit in at that school too well. He yearned to be a tough street kid, and even had invented a street name and graffiti tag. He was arrested for graffiti while hanging out with a low-level dealer friend of his. The cops cuffed them and threw them in the back seat of the car. They gave the kids a few minutes to think about it, then talked to them. They gave the kids a warning to get smart and stay out of this lifestyle or it will only get worse. Moore was terrified, but not for long. He continued to push the limits.

He was in too much trouble at school and at home, and so his mother made a difficult decision. She asked for money from family and sent him to military school. Moore was miserable. He did not like the regulations, the authority, or being away from home. He tried to run away multiple times. He would always get caught. At one point, he called his mother and begged her to bring him home. His mother was strong and refused.

Eventually, though, Moore grew to enjoy his time at military school. He even rose up through the ranks. With a lot of help from role models above him in the line of command, he felt empowered for the first time in his life. He had begun to think about the future. The only down side is that the outside world was still the same. One night, walking through town, he was attacked for being black.

Moore chose the military as his first career. It would be a safe place to continue his training and travel the world. He went on to travel to South Africa, work in the military and in politics. While Wes was working the streets of Baltimore, Moore was working in the mayor’s office. He spoke at the Democrat national convention before Barack Obama accepted the nomination to run for president. He married. He worked in Wall Street, fought in the military in Afghanistan, and was special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

Wes was born in Baltimore, in the same area that his parents and grandparents lived. They were in a bad neighborhood that his mother kept trying to get them out of. She never succeeded. He had a half-brother, Tony, that he looked up to. Wes’ father showed up only a few times in his life, and was usually drunk.

Wes had been arrested for the first time when he was eight years old for pulling a knife on another boy during a dispute playing street football. Tony and Tony’s father covered it up, never letting their mother know. A few years later, Wes joined up with some dealers. He became a look-out for them. Around this time, he started using marijuana, and started to understand how people would want to pay money for a good feeling.

Finally, he started selling drugs as well. The money coming into the household was significant. His mother turned a blind eye to it. She believed his innocence because she had no other choice. This was her baby, and she could not bear to think that no matter what she did, both of her sons would turn out to be dealers.

Wes ventured further into the drug trade, working his way up the chain. The violent lifestyle escalated until he was arrested for shooting at a rival. It was not a drug rival, but the cousin of a girl with whom he was involved. He was already a father and had tried to kill someone and he was still a teenager.

He was tried as a juvenile and released soon after. But he was not out long. He was a lieutenant in the drug trade, with a crew of his own. At its peak, it would bring in $4,000 a day. Nothing was ever enough, though. He made a stupid mistake and sold to an undercover cop. He went back to jail.

Eventually, the drug trade was too much for him. He was sick of putting his life on the line, but knew no other way to support himself and his family (he now had four children with two different mothers). He joined Job Corps with a friend, Levy, who also used to be a dealer. He excelled at Job Corps, learned carpentry, and earned his GED. However, after a string of temporary jobs, none of them paying more than $9 an hour, he went back to dealing.

Soon after that he was arrested along with Tony and two other men who are unnamed by the author. Four suspects had held a jewelry store up, making off with $438,000 in product. An off-duty police officer, 35-year-old Bruce Prothero, was working security there to make enough money to support his five children. Prothero followed the robbers out, and was gunned down in the parking lot. Tony was later identified as the shooter, but all four men, including Wes, were charged with the crime and given life sentences.

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