The Other Wes Moore

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Tony is Wes’s older half-brother, born to Mary when she was only 16. He spends most of his time in the Murphy Homes Projects and has been dealing drugs since before the age of ten. By the time he is 14, he is a “certified gangsta” with a fierce reputation. He is also the closest thing Wes has to a father figure. Although Tony tirelessly tries to convince Wes to pursue a different path, eventually he gives up, admitting that there is nothing he can do to stop Wes making the same decisions as he did. When Wes and Tony are arrested for the murder of Sergeant Prothero, Tony is convicted as the “trigger man” and pleads guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. He dies in prison of kidney failure at the age of 38.

Tony Quotes in The Other Wes Moore

The The Other Wes Moore quotes below are all either spoken by Tony or refer to Tony. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Spiegel & Grau edition of The Other Wes Moore published in 2011.
Chapter 2 Quotes

The walls and floors were coated with filth and graffiti. Flickering fluorescent tubes (the ones that weren't completely broken) dimly lit the cinder-block hallways. The constantly broken-down elevators forced residents to climb claustrophobic, urine-scented stairways. And the drug game was everywhere, with a gun handle protruding from the top of every tenth teenager's waistline. People who lived in Murphy Homes felt like prisoners, kept in check by roving bands of gun-strapped kids and a nightmare army of drug fiends. This was where Tony chose to spend his days.

Related Characters: Wes Moore (Moore/The Author) (speaker), Tony
Related Symbols: The Murphy Homes Projects
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

Moore has explained that Tony, who is six years older than Wes, is the closest thing that Wes has to a father figure. However, Tony isn’t around all the time because he lives with his father and grandparents in the Murphy Homes, a notorious housing project nicknamed the “Murder homes.” Moore’s description of the Murphy Homes brings to mind a warzone more than a residential community. It emphasizes the extent to which West Baltimore is a neglected, forgotten community forced to deal with living conditions that would horrify many affluent and white Americans.

Although many in the Murphy Homes Projects would undoubtedly rather live elsewhere, Moore emphasizes that the Homes are “where Tony chose to spend his days.” This comment illustrates the way in which luck and choice intermingle in the cruel environment of West Baltimore. While Tony likely doesn’t enjoy spending time in “urine-scented stairways,” he has made the decision to participate in the drug trade. The consequences of his role as a drug dealer can never be blamed on either choice or luck alone, but rather a combination of the two.

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Tony Character Timeline in The Other Wes Moore

The timeline below shows where the character Tony appears in The Other Wes Moore. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Introduction
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Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence  Theme Icon
...studying at Johns Hopkins University, the other Wes was imprisoned along with his older brother, Tony, for his involvement in a robbery that led to the murder of an off-duty police... (full context)
Chapter 1: Is Daddy Coming with Us?
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Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence  Theme Icon
...Mary, as his father has never been around to support her; meanwhile, Wes’s older brother Tony spends most of his time with his grandparents and father in the Murphy Homes Projects.... (full context)
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Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
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...16, Alma responded that she didn’t care as long as Mary went to college. After Tony was born, Alma went to the hospital for a kidney transplant, and Mary struggled to... (full context)
Chapter 2: In Search of Home
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Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
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Discipline and Violence  Theme Icon
...is summer break and Wes wakes up to the sound of the phone ringing. It’s Tony, asking where Mary is. Tony is very protective of Wes, although Wes doesn’t see him... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
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After Tony hangs up, the phone rings again. This time it’s Woody, Wes’s new friend, who tells... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
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...punches Wes, who stands still for a moment, stunned, before sprinting home. Wes thinks of Tony, who sometimes brings him to the Murphy Homes to practice fighting. Wes grabs a long... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
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...police officers tells Wes to put down the knife, but he barely notices. He hears Tony’s advice ringing in his mind: “Send a message.” The police officer yanks Wes and slams... (full context)
Chapter 3: Foreign Ground
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...Wes’s family is a perfect example of the devastating effects of drug crime. At 18, Tony is living in the Murphy House Projects and has recently been shot during a drug... (full context)
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Wes feels envious of Tony’s new, expensive clothes, and begs Mary to let him buy some. Mary replies that Tony... (full context)
Chapter 4: Marking Territory
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Three years after Wes first decided to start work as a lookout, Tony is furiously asking his younger brother where he got the money to buy so many... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
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Tony announces that he is giving up and leaves. Mary tends to her younger son’s wounds,... (full context)
Chapter 5: Lost
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...pregnant. Wes is so shocked that he enters a state of denial. Eventually, he tells Tony, who has just become a father himself. Tony bursts out laughing, pointing out that Mary... (full context)
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At Wes and Tony’s little brother’s first birthday, Tony indirectly reveals that Alicia is pregnant. On learning this news,... (full context)
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...Wes simply shuts himself in the bathroom and starts washing away the blood. Mary calls Tony, who immediately drives over. Wes throws his bloodied clothes in the garbage and sinks his... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
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...to his mother that he doesn’t know the answer to her question. By the time Tony arrives, Mary informs him that it’s too late—Wes is gone. (full context)
Chapter 7: The Land That God Forgot
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...provide a better life for his children and Mary, and not to end up like Tony, who is perpetually in and out of prison. When graduation comes, Wes is excited but... (full context)
Chapter 8: Surrounded
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...days of the shooting. Mary watches as the news reporter announces that the final two suspects—Tony and Wes—are still on the run, and that they are being treated as “armed and... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
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...The police officers remind them that there is a reward for turning in Wes and Tony, as the guests silently shiver in their soaking clothes. When it is clear that none... (full context)
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In reality, Wes and Tony are in North Philadelphia, staying at an uncle’s house. Walking down the street, Wes notices... (full context)
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...has waited almost a year to be extradited to Maryland from Pennsylvania for his trial. Tony was identified as the shooter and pleaded guilty in order to avoid the death penalty;... (full context)
Epilogue
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...lights out at 10 pm. He converted to Islam at first so he could see Tony at Friday services, but he is now a devout believer and leader in the Muslim... (full context)
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...elder care; all her children have graduated from high school. Sentenced to life in prison, Tony died of kidney failure at 38. After graduating from high school, Woody spent time in... (full context)