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The Role of Environment in a Child’s Life in The Other Wes Moore

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To think that whether people are exemplary chefs, diligent businesswomen, or just juniors in high school we are all just products of our environment. Many people overlook this small detail in their lives just as two young boys from Baltimore did. Wes Moore and the other Wes Moore lived in similar neighborhoods and both grew up fatherless but even though they shared the same name they had two different fates. Moore utilizes the contrasting details in both the boys’ lives to demonstrate that the environment surrounding people whether they realize it or not molds them into who they become in the future. Many believe that the mother’s role in a child’s life is a huge contribution to the development of the child as he or she gets older. This is clearly seen in both Wes Moore and the other Wes Moore’s life for each mother was an example to their child which later instructed them in the choices they made.

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In the other Wes Moore’s household readers can see that the mother, Mary, was just a mess and could not get her life together and when Wes “found his mother’s weed stash” it did not make things better. With this new discovery at hand, Wes found it normal to start doing drugs. Mary was the reason Wes chose to start dealing drugs which ultimately led him to disaster. Meanwhile, Wes Moore’s mom, Joy, made every attempt for her son not to be involved in drugs and violence. She went as far as taking Wes out of public school and enrolling him in Military School. Both boys had different environments, one having drugs available to him and the other having a caring mom, that is why one kid resulted in being a drug dealer and the other a decorated veteran. Not only did their mothers affect their way of living but the place in which they grew up also affected them.

Some people have seen that the place children call “home” also results in how the child develops, not only because it is the environment around them but because in that home, they encounter things on a daily which might affect them in the future. Alice Goffman puts it as “you’ve got these two parallel journeys going on simultaneously: the kids attending those elite, private university, and the kids from the adjacent neighborhood some of whom are making it to college and many of whom are being shipped to prison”. This is an accurate representation of the life of Wes Moore and the other Wes Moore because even though they lived so close to each other in Baltimore the differences in their homes truly led them to different paths. They were truly just products of their environment, Wes having a tight nit home and the other Wes Moore having a drug polluted neighborhood. Wes puts it as simple as this, “the chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his”.

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Two stories but only one name. It is crazy to think that the simplest details such as the house a person lives in or how their mother treats them could affect their development as a person. It is almost like a domino effect. Certain things in life whether good or bad add up in a person’s life and at one point end up causing them to stumble and fall. In this occasion the other Wes Moore was surrounded by awful circumstances which ultimately led him to stumble in life and Wes Moore was surrounded by circumstances that made him a leader and excel in life. When we meet new people or are in different scenarios we typically develop differently or change because of them. It all has to start somewhere and in this case it just happens to be the things surrounding a person.

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