The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Moore

Subject: Literature
Pages: 3
Words: 825
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: School


The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, written by Wes Moore, compares and contrasts youths who share the same name, the author Wes and the other Wes. It highlights significant moments in their lives and demonstrates how two persons with the same name approached identical problems in very different ways, leading to radically different ends. The lives of the two youngsters are used as a resource for “thinking about choices and accountability, not just for each individual but for all of society” (Moore 14). The way the book is organized makes the author Wes a student of the other Wes’ life lessons. This essay focuses on how Wes Moore, the author, has conquered the issues his background has brought, highlighting main themes, including poverty and military, education, upbringing, and life choices.


Poverty plays a particular role in the lives of both Wes Moores. Both teenagers were impacted by the socioeconomic standing of their families and neighborhoods yet dealt with these issues differently. The author’s mother worked to pay for her son’s education at a private school after Wes’s father passed away. The teenage author struggled at school, associating with criminal groups. The author’s mother noticed that he “had forgotten how to act naturally, thinking way too much in each situation and getting tangled in the contradictions between my two worlds” (Moore 54), enrolling him in a military school, making him gradually recognize the importance of education, understanding that his time in the military had given him stability and trustworthy people, which positively impacted his life. A single mother raised The Other Wes Moore in Baltimore. Both his half-brother Tony and his father, who had abandoned the family, were engaged in the drug trade. Following his attempt to leave a life of crime, The Other Wes was ultimately given a life sentence for first-degree murder. Thus, despite having similar beginnings and circumstances, the two people eventually led different lifestyles.

Moore brings out several crucial points, including the importance of parenting and education in shaping a person’s life. Since “supportive relationships are critical for the positive development of youth at risk” (Johnson and Onofre 30), the author’s mother did, in fact, really believe in his potential, which finally stimulated his educational advancement. After reading Colin Powell’s autobiography, which connected with the author Wes’ perception of fairness and eagerness for a legitimate chance at life, his perspective on schooling was revised. This shift in viewpoint caused him to change his route in life, pursuing both military and political careers. The other Wes had a different educational situation, with his mother being forced to leave Johns Hopkins University due to funding cuts to higher education and giving up on her education, stopping her belief in her son’s chances. Since “the expectations that others place on us form our expectations of ourselves” (Moore 126), this attitude profoundly influenced his life. Wes, the author, excelled academically not solely because he had faith in his ability to succeed but also because he was surrounded by people who shared his belief. Thus, educational success results from aligning personal strengths with institutional and familial resources like the school and administration.

Another crucial component of the evolution of both characters is the impact of their life decisions. As a result, it was acknowledged that both characters had opportunities that could have fundamentally altered their lives: “From everything you told me, both of us did some pretty wrong stuff when we were younger. And both of us had second chances” (Moore 66). The author eventually turned away from the criminal life, although the other Wes could not do so. As Wes Moore began and ended his book with the exact phrase, “The chilling truth is that the other Wes’ story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his” (Moore, 11), the living circumstances of the two protagonists may have been switched around with ease. Thus, just as studying the specifics of the other Wes’s tale helped him understand his own life and choices, learning about another person’s history helped the author understand his life path. In this way, the author underlined how a person’s destiny was essentially a product of their choices throughout life.


In conclusion, the author of The Other Wes Moore makes it abundantly evident how many small details affect parallel lives. The most crucial one is that everyone is responsible for their decisions in life. The story emphasizes significant occasions in the characters’ lives and illustrates how two people with the same name solved identical situations in drastically different ways. The aggregate effects of one’s family, mentors, and self lead to a person’s identity in The Other Wes Moore, along with that person’s choices. The two individuals had very different lives as a result, despite having the same names and similar backgrounds. Therefore, a person’s upbringing and choices in life ultimately shape who they are, which is a significant theme in Moore’s book.

Works Cited

Moore, Wes. The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. Spiegel & Grau, 2010.

Johnson, Gregory D., and Amy L. Onofre. “Book Review: The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates.” National Youth-At-Risk Journal, vol. 2(2), 2017. Web.