The Other Wes Moore Analysis
by Wes Moore

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The Other Wes Moore Analysis

This book sets out to figure out why the author wound up as a Rhodes Scholar, a veteran of the armed forces, and a person with a promising future, while another man named Wes Moore wound up in jail. The author spends a great deal of time dissecting the childhoods of Wes Moore and his own childhood. In many ways, the two men, both African American, grew up in similar circumstances. The author's father died when the author was very young, and the other Wes Moore's father was not in the picture. While the author was born in Baltimore, he moved to the Bronx and lived with his mother and grandparents, while the other Wes Moore remained in Baltimore and turned to selling drugs. The other Wes Moore also started having children at a very young age.

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The author does not pinpoint one single variable that differentiated his life from that of the other Wes Moore. However, he writes about some factors that might have made a difference. The author benefited from the upbringing of his mother and grandparents, who were a close-knit family. His mother had attended college, while the other Wes Moore's mother had not. The author was able to attend a private school in New York and then a private military school, while the other Wes Moore attended failing public schools. In the end, though, their lives were so similar at their starts, yet bifurcated so greatly, that the reader is left wondering whether chance also played a role in their outcomes.


The story "The Other Wes Moore" explores an existential theme of fate. The author questions why his own existence is the way it turned out to be, when it could easily have become something far different. Throughout the novel, he compares his own life with that of another man named Wes Moore, who grew up in a relatively similar life, but ended up travelling a far different path than his own.

Moore explores the idea that simple actions and adjustments in each person's life can drastically change their entire existence. He is essentially arguing that the Butterfly Effect occurs in everyone's timeline,and these small adjustments and differences in experience create radically different stories for each of us. The story laments the life of the other Wes Moore, who ended up imprisoned for criminal activity, when the author had a very positive and productive life.