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The Other Wes Moore: Prof. Silverman - College Success - Journal Questions

The resources in this guide will help you to learn about the book and author, find book reviews, listen to speeches and interviews or lead a book discussion.

Journal Questions - Prof. Silverman

The Other Wes Moore Journal Questions

Directions:  All journal entries are to be written in the notebook distributed for The Other Wes Moore journal assignments. A portion of The Other Wes Moore will be assigned for you to read at home each week.  On the day that this reading is due, you will be given a choice of journal assignments to write about in class. Make sure you date the entry and label the chapter of the entry.  If you are unable to write on any of the choices for that week, you may always answer the following question:

 Choose a specific phrase, sentence, or paragraph from this week’s reading.  Quote your choice and cite the page number.  Then explain why you found this passage interesting, disturbing, touching, amusing, sad, thought-provoking, motivational, exciting, or inspiring.

 Before Reading

Does your name have any specific meaning or significance?  Were you named after anyone in your family or any famous?  Do you think your name had any impact on your life? 


 Do you know anyone who has the same or similar name as you?  Are you similar or different from that person?  Or do you know any two people who have the same name?  Are they similar or different to each other? Explain your answer. 


On the first page of the Introduction, Wes Moore writes, “The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine.  The tragedy is that my story could have been his.” What do you think he means by this statement?  Do you think that if the circumstances in your life were different you would have been a different person?  Explain your answer.


 On page xiv of the Introduction Wes Moore writes, “I don’t want readers to ever forget the high stakes of these stories—of all our stories: that life and death, freedom and bondage, hang in the balance of every action we take.”  Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Explain your answer and give an example to support your explanation.

 OR CS only

 Using the guidelines for the Discovery and Intention Journal Entry System pretend you are Wes Moore.  Then:

  1. Reword the Introduction as a Discovery Statement.
  2. Based on your Discovery Statement, write an Intention Statement.

 Chapter 1: Is Daddy Coming with Us?

On page 8 Wes Moore writes, “When my mom first landed in the Bronx, she was just a small child, but she was a survivor and learned quickly.”  Have you ever considered yourself or someone close to you a survivor?  If so, explain why.


 On page 9 Wes Moore writes of his mother, Joy, that sometimes she felt, “….frustrated with that country [the United States] because it still made her feel like a second-class citizen.”  Have you ever felt this way?  Explain your answer.

 OR CS only

 In Chapter 1, the reader is introduced to Joy, Wes Moore’s mother, and to Mary, the other Wes Moore’s mother.  Choose one of these women and explain at least two Master Student traits that she exhibits in this chapter.

  Chapter 2: In Search of Home

How did the conditions of the other Wes Moore’s home life influence him as he enters his middle school years?  How did your home life influence you when you were in middle school?


 The author Wes Moore’s mother decides to leave Baltimore and move her family to the Bronx when Wes is in his middle school years.  What influence did his grandparents have on him?  Do you have any extended family members who had an influence on you when you were younger?  Explain.


 The other Wes Moore was into football when he was in his middle school years, while the author Wes Moore was into basketball.  How did their interest in sports influence them at that age?  Do you think their choice of sport made any difference in the molding their temperaments?

 OR CS only

 Choose two of the “25 ways to get the most out of now.”  Explain how the using these two ideas might have helped the other Wes Moore to stay out of trouble when he was in his middle school years.

 Chapter 3: Foreign Ground

How did Riverdale, where the author Wes Moore is now going to school and his new neighborhood in the Bronx, where he is now living, influence him? How did the other Wes Moore’s new neighborhood in Baltimore County influence him?  What effect did your environment as you were growing up have on you?


 In Chapter 3, the author Wes Moore discusses the prevalence of drugs and in particular crack in the Bronx in the 1980’s.  The author Wes Moore and his friend Justin try to avoid the drug dealers in his neighborhood.  In this chapter, we also learn of the other Wes Moore’s introduction to drugs.  Why was the author able to resist the drug dealers in his neighborhood when the other Wes Moore was not?  What do you think are key factors in teenagers starting to use drugs?

 Part II:  Choices and Second Chances; Chapter 4: Marking Territory

 During a conversation at the prison, the other Wes Moore asks the author Wes Moore, “When did you feel like you’d become a man?” What was Wes’ answer?  Do you think this was a good answer?  When was the first time that you felt really grown up?  If you have not yet felt that way, imagine what it would be like.


  In Chapter 4, the other Wes Moore’s older brother Tony finds out that Wes is dealing drugs and confronts Wes.  Later in this chapter, the author Wes Moore finds out that his younger sister Shani had been punched by another girl.  How were Tony’s actions as a big brother similar or different from the author’s actions as a big brother?  Have you ever tried to protect a younger sibling?  Has an older sibling ever tried to protect you?  If so, describe the situation and its influence on you. 

Chapter 5:  Lost

 On page 96, the author Wes Moore explains his newfound understanding about respect.  Explain the comparison he makes between Shea’s respect back in the Bronx to the cadets’ respect for Colonel Batt. Do you agree or disagree with that these were different types of respect?


 In Chapter 5, the other Wes Moore is arrested.  How was his experience with the police different than the author Wes Moore’s experience with the police when he was arrested in Chapter 4?  How did these experiences influence these two young men?

 Chapter 6:  Hunted

 In this chapter, the two Wes Moore’s lives diverge dramatically in large part because of their educational experiences.  What impact did their education (or lack of education) have on their lives?  How has education impacted your life or the lives of other people close to you?


 The author Wes Moore is attacked and called names because he is black.  However, he writes of this on page 121, “But I had to let this one go.  I had to look at the bigger picture.”  Do you think he did the right thing?  Why or why not?  What would you have done?  Why?

 Chapter 7: The Land That God Forgot

 On pages 132-133, the author Wes Moore discusses some of the people who had on impact on his life.  Who were these people?  Why did they have an impact on his life?  Have you had any mentors (outside of your family) who have had an impact on your life?  Explain.


 In Chapter 7, the other Wes Moore goes to Job Corps determined to change his life, but when he comes out he goes back to his old life?  Why?  Have you ever been determined to do something that you then backed down on?  Why?  Explain.

Chapter 8:  Surrounded

 On page 155, the author states that the other Wes Moore “knew that he no longer had control over his destiny.”  At what point in his life could Wes have changed his destiny?  How?  Do you think you have control over your destiny?  Explain what you are doing or not doing this semester to mold your own destiny.


At the end of this chapter, the author Wes Moore describes the process that Zinzi went through to become a man.  Describe that process.  Do you think that this process will help Zinzi and others in his tribe to overcome the daily struggles that he needs to survive?  Do you think that the other Wes Moore, or other young men like him, would have benefitted from such a process? 

Epilogue, Afterword, and A Call to Action

 In the Afterword, the author Wes Moore catches us up on the lives of the other people he mentioned in the book.  Did any of their outcomes surprise you, disturb you, encourage you?  Explain why.


In the Afterword, the author Wes Moore comes back to the question that he opened the book with:  What made the difference between you and the other Wes Moore?  What is his conclusion?  Do you agree or disagree with him?


 What is the purpose of A Call to Action?  Do you think there is anything that you personally or we, as a class, can do to answer this call to action?

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