The Other Wes Moore

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Westley is Joy’s second husband, the father of Moore and Shani, and the stepfather of Nikki. A radio journalist educated at Bard College, Westley has an “insatiable desire to succeed” and lands his own public affairs show. He dies unexpectedly when Moore is three from acute epiglottis, a virus that—if left untreated—causes fatal suffocation.

Westley Quotes in The Other Wes Moore

The The Other Wes Moore quotes below are all either spoken by Westley or refer to Westley. 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 5 Quotes

Wes, you are not going anywhere until you give this place a try. I am so proud of you, and your father is proud of you, and we just want you to give this a shot. Too many people have sacrificed in order for you to be there.

Related Characters: Joy (speaker), Wes Moore (Moore/The Author) , Westley
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

After four attempts to run away from Valley Forge, Moore is brought to the office of Colonel Battagliogli, who allows him to make a five-minute phone call. When Joy answers the phone, Moore immediately begins begging to be allowed to come home; however, Joy cuts him off and tells him that he has no choice but to stay. This passage demonstrates Joy’s particular mix of strictness and support, the combination of which ultimately enables her son to flourish. Although Moore is miserable at military school, it is clear that he needs the discipline and boundaries of the institution in order to make a positive change in his life. Joy’s mention of the sacrifices made to facilitate Moore’s attendance then emphasizes the fact that Moore’s journey is not being taken alone, but rather with a whole community supporting him.

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Chapter 6 Quotes

I had to let this one go. I had to look at the bigger picture. My assailant was unknown, unnamed, and in a car. This was not a fair fight, and the best-case scenario was nowhere near as probable as the worst-case scenario. If I was successful, who knew how the fight would've ended? If I failed, who knew how the fight would've ended? I thought about my mother and how she would feel if this escalated any further. I thought about my father and the name he chose for me.

Related Characters: Wes Moore (Moore/The Author) (speaker), Joy, Westley, Colonel Bose’s Son
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:

During a trip to town with his fellow cadet Dalio, Moore is attacked by a group of drunk teenagers, one of whom identifies himself as Colonel Bose’s son. As the teenagers’ aggression escalates, one of them shouts a racist slur at Moore and throws something hard at his face. Although Moore is tempted to retaliate, he reasons that this is too great a risk. The kind of reasoning Moore displays in this passage is a direct contrast to Wes’s reaction to the conflicts with the young boy during the football game and with Ray. In these cases, Wes leaves no time for rational reflection, but simply recalls Tony’s advice to “send a message” and grabs a weapon.

Moore’s words in this passage emphasize the extent to which he is able to make rational, responsible decisions because of the love and support of his family. Rather than fixating on his own pride, Moore’s thoughts immediately jump to the impact his injury or death would have on his family. This moment thus reveals a turning point in Moore’s maturity, in which he has left behind the desire to prove himself and is more focused on the responsibility he has toward others.

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Westley Character Timeline in The Other Wes Moore

The timeline below shows where the character Westley appears in The Other Wes Moore. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Is Daddy Coming with Us?
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence  Theme Icon
...much good in the long run. Moore explains that he was named after his father, Westley, and that he has two middle names, Watende Omari. As his parents continue to argue,... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence  Theme Icon
The chapter jumps back to the three-year-old Moore in his room. Westley comes upstairs and gently tells his son that he must “defend” women, not hit them.... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Moore explains that, as a young person, Westley was both gifted and extraordinarily driven. He graduates from Bard College in 1971 and immediately... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Nikki calls an ambulance while Joy attempts CPR on Westley. When the medics arrive, Nikki makes Moore wait outside the house. Eventually, the ambulance take... (full context)
Chapter 2: In Search of Home
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Moore describes walking downstairs one night to find his mother half-asleep on the couch. Since Westley’s death, Joy has been sleeping in the living room in order to “stand guard” against... (full context)
Epilogue
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
...He hopes that in writing the book, he has honored the legacy of his father, Westley, who was himself a journalist. He acknowledges that the central question in the book is... (full context)