The Other Wes Moore

by Wes Moore

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What do Wes's actions on page 50 of The Other Wes Moore indicate about his values, and how do they change throughout the book?

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This episode indicates how hard it is for Wes to live in two worlds: the world of the street and the world of the elite private school which he attends. He exaggerates the reason he was suspended from class because he wants to appear tough to his friends, to assure them that, despite his expensive education, he's too cool for school.

Wes's friends tease him mercilessly about attending a white school, and so Wes doesn't want to give the impression that he's somehow forgotten where he comes from. Despite attending Riverdale, Wes still has to live in the neighborhood, and so presenting himself as a tough guy is a useful survival strategy in this part of the world, where it pays to be seen as street smart.

In due course, Wes's whole attitude changes completely. Once he's no longer living in the Bronx, he no longer feels the need to try and reconcile two competing identities. He can simply be himself without fussing over what anyone else might think of him. That means embracing an ethic of hard work and self-improvement, which leads him on the path to personal, educational, and professional success.

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