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The Topics Of Choice And Luck In The Book The Other Wes Moore

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In the book, “The Other Wes Moore”, the author elaborates how two men that are born into a similar position - broken and underrepresented backgrounds, share similar discriminations, exposure to violence, and have identical names. The difference among the men is how widely different their lives turn out to be by unraveling the decisions that each took by highlighting both luck and choices that shaped their overall life. Being African American and living in a broken environment, both men face major exposure to drugs, violence, and being marginalized for being a person of color. Based on these factors, the trajectory of the two individuals takes an unexpected outcome, resulting in one being successful while the other facing a life sentence in prison.

As the book progresses, the author Wes Moore highlights key moments at which he made responsible decisions, juxtaposing to Wes’s. For instance, when Moore was sent to military school, the assumption revolving that idea was a negative connotation as if it will be useless to him. Nevertheless, Moore ended up thriving in military school by embracing the philosophy of discipline and respect. Similarly, the other Wes could have taken an alternative decision in a moment that put him behind bars. It was seen when he steals his mother’s marijuana, and of course when he participates in the robbery that results in the murder of a policeman, thus forcing Wes’s life imprisonment. Behind the two events that both Men went through, depicts the actions each took and essentially taught the essence of choice. Although they both grew up around violence and drugs, the change of mentality was an obstacle that they faced and of course, is seen through the outcome. Other factors contributing to their choices were family. Wes’s family wasn’t traditional and gave a path of violence and poor choices because of the lack of guidance. His brother, Tony is so invested with the drug world and his sister being alcoholic, Wes became frustrated with the world of crime and decides to move pass it. However, he finds that it’s impossible and felt that there were no longer other options available to him. As for Moore, he adapted to his choices because of the action of his mother. With the aid of military school and change of mentality, his values changes and he come to understand the importance of discipline, education, and compassion.

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The environment surrounding Wes and Moore represents an important sense of inclusion and exclusion. Both boys experience a sense of community throughout their lifetime. As Moore moves through life, he is inducted into a series of successes. First through military school by valuing discipline and then John Hopkins University by admiring education, but soon was hesitant about applying. Despite being encouraged to do so, he believes the university is “...full of kids who did not look or sound like me.” Eventually, Moore saw light and inspiration from an assistant director of admissions, similar in identity and proceeds to submit his application. As a result, he thrives on success. On the other hand, Wes does not remain in academics. When Wes experiences being a boyfriend and a father, he became incapable to sustain the relationship due to his lying and criminal activity. It is not until he is in prison to understand inclusion and finds way to an Islam community. Although his religious community supports him, it cannot undo the fact that Wes is permanently excluded from the outside world and cut off from his family. Both Wes and Moore remain excluded and marginalized within American society because of the color of their skin and being African American. Being in a predominantly black neighborhood, race and class is the primary attack, everyone is prone to being poor and excluded by the means of America.

In retrospect, the inequality, injustices, and discrimination are significant contributing factors that play a role in choice and luck upon Wes and Moore. The exposure of negativity is essential to affect those with vulnerability and is seen with both boys but because of their differences in family, the outcome is evident. In the events of drugs, crimes, discipline, and success, greatly influenced the trajectory of the author Wes Moore and “Wes”, resulting in life values, success, and despair. Overall, the book conveys these pivotal events to illustrate the struggles both boys encountered and how they choose to overcome them.

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The Topics Of Choice And Luck In The Book The Other Wes Moore. (2021, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 11, 2023, from
“The Topics Of Choice And Luck In The Book The Other Wes Moore.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2021,
The Topics Of Choice And Luck In The Book The Other Wes Moore. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 11 Dec. 2023].
The Topics Of Choice And Luck In The Book The Other Wes Moore [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Dec 11]. Available from:
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