What is a plebe and how does is compare to Wes’s other identities?

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In Ancient Rome, a pleb was a member of the common people. In modern times, it tends to be used as a derogatory term for someone deemed to be of a lower social class. That helps to explain why first year students at Valley Forge Military Academy such as Wes...

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In Ancient Rome, a pleb was a member of the common people. In modern times, it tends to be used as a derogatory term for someone deemed to be of a lower social class. That helps to explain why first year students at Valley Forge Military Academy such as Wes Moore are described as "plebes." As far as the authorities are concerned, they're the lowest of the low, to be treated as less than nothing.

Valley Forge's new arrivals are subjected to the rigors of harsh military discipline. For Wes Moore, as for the most of the other young men at Valley Forge, it's a culture shock, to say the least. This is about as far from the Bronx as it's possible to get. Here, everything is structured and neat, ordered and disciplined. For the first time in his life, Wes can't take the easy way out and make bad choices in his life; he simply has to knuckle down and obey the rules without question. His experiences at Valley Forge prove the making of him and help establish the habits of discipline, perseverance, and hard work that will stand him in good stead later on in life.

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Wes (the author) is a plebe, or first-year student, at a military school, and he is subjected to harsh discipline, including the need to obey his sergeant and get out of bed at 5:30 in the morning. There are definite rules that he must follow, and the discipline meted out to him is immediate. Wes's life in the military school is quite different from his life in the Bronx, where he lived without submitting to much discipline. He attended a private school in New York, but he did not do his work or attend class. He was in constant trouble, both academically and behaviorally, and he also spent time with people who roamed the streets and "tagged" objects with spray paint. Wes's other identities involve rebellion and a lack of discipline, but when he finally submits himself to being a plebe, he learns to respect others and himself.

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