The Other Wes Moore’s Profile Essay A person’s success or failure can be determined by their environment, education, choices; a number of different things. The autobiography The Other Wes Moore takes a look at two boys with the same name and eerily similar circumstances who end up in very different places in life. Wes Moore spoke at convocation about his book and what he hoped that people would get from it. In the book he says “The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his. (Moore xi). These two men didn’t share the same fate because they each made a choice about what they wanted their life to become. The book truly demonstrates how the choices you make, make you. One Wes Moore showed that you can make the decision to not be a product of your environment or any other situation, and go on to be very successful in life. The way a person is shaped and guided in their developmental years does undoubtedly play a huge role in the type of person they will become people.
A lot of elements come into play that helps to determine a person’s success or failure but at the end of the day the most important factor is a person’s choices. Whether those choices were made due to sways from the environment, education or influences is completely dependent on oneself. All people are accountable to themselves and in turn for their successes or failures. Environment can play a big part. Studies have proven that children in areas of poverty are far less likely to outperform students in affluent neighborhoods, but is that an excuse?
The author Wes Moore and the imprisoned Wes Moore faced almost identical environmental challenges. The differences that landed these two on opposite ends of the spectrum were personal choices. Wes Moore decided to straighten up and do what not only his family wanted for him, but what he wanted for himself. He made the choice to not become a victim of circumstance while the other did not. Choices on education are also a major deciding factor on success and failure. Victor Hugo once said, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison. This speaks volumes to the occurrences in both Wes Moore’s lives. The author Wes Moore went off to military school where negative environmental influences were cut off and he was able to receive an education, which he himself considers a turning point in his life. His entire atmosphere and the dynamics of the schools he was accustomed to were altered. Although he attempted to run away several times, there was a point after speaking with his mother that he made the decision to stop running and embrace the experience and it helped make him the person he is today.
The imprisoned Moore dropped out of school and like the overwhelming majority of African American male drop outs, ended up in the system. While the imprisoned Wes may have not had access to private or military schools, he could have finished school and decided to make an honest living. Later in his life he did decided to earn a GED and learn a trade, but he didn’t make the decision to dedicate himself to turning his life around and as soon as things got difficult turned back to what he knew instead of taking path toward something more positive.
He gained mentors working under Mayor Kurt Schmoke of Baltimore, and a friend in his former Captain, Ty Hill at the military school. His decision to pursue a life full of criminal activity was his alone. The way parents and mentors influence choices are also very important. While Wes’ (the author) parents opting out of public schools and sending him to private and military institutions undoubtedly aided in his success, he also could have protested and chose not to learn anything from the opportunities presented to him, but he didn’t. He took full advantage of the opportunity presented to him.
Imprisoned Wes Moore also had people who wanted the best for him. He had the opportunity to graduate from high school and take control of his own life. He chose not to listen to his mother or brother, Tony. No mother wants to see her child go down the path he did. Even his brother, who himself was involved in the drug game did not want his little brother to be a part of that. He even got into a physical fight with Moore when he found out he was selling drugs, but there came a point when Tony realized you cannot want something for someone they don’t want for themself.
He desperately wanted to keep his brother off his path but when he understood his attempts fell on deaf ears he told him “If you won’t listen, that’s on you. You have potential to do so much more, go so much further. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, right? ” (Moore 71). His brother knew it was Wes’ decision, and at some point you have to take responsibility for yourself. Many people are afforded opportunities and blessing that guide them on the path of success but the truth of the world is you are the only one responsible for you.
Your own choices decide your fate. Other factors are undeniably critical but they do not determine whether you will or not will be successful in life. These two men demonstrate that you decide your own destiny. The author Wes Moore became a commissioned officer from Valley Forge Military College, graduate from Johns Hopkins University, became a Rhodes Scholar, a Captain in the United States Army, businessman, and a White House Fellow under Condoleezza Rice.
He has so many accomplishments while the other Wes is serving a life sentence for felony murder. That is just a testament to the fact that no one can stand in a person’s way of achievement but themself. Works Cited Moore, Wes. The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2010. Print. “Popular Quotes: The Meaning an History behind “He Who Opens a School Door, Closes a Prison. “” BookBrowse. com. N. p. , n. d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://www. bookbrowse. com/quotes/detail/index. cfm? quote_number=247>.