The Other Wes Moore

Joy Character Analysis

Moore’s mother. Herself the daughter of Rev. James and Winell, Joy is born in Jamaica before immigrating to the United States as a child. At American University, Joy meets Bill, and the pair get married and have a child, Nikki. However, Joy ends up leaving Bill on account of his drug addiction and violent abuse. Soon after, she meets and marries Westley and has two children with him, Moore and Shani. When Westley dies, Joy moves the family back in with her parents in the Bronx and works three jobs in order to send Moore to Riverdale. Although she and Moore have a troubled relationship during this period, things improve dramatically after Moore’s time at military school. At the end of the book, Moore credits the support of his mother as the most important element guiding his success.

Joy Quotes in The Other Wes Moore

The The Other Wes Moore quotes below are all either spoken by Joy or refer to Joy. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Spiegel & Grau edition of The Other Wes Moore published in 2011.
Chapter 3 Quotes

My mother saw Riverdale as a haven, a place where I could escape my neighborhood and open my horizons. But for me, it was where I got lost.

Related Characters: Wes Moore (Moore/The Author) (speaker), Joy
Page Number: 48
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Chapter 4 Quotes

I found in hip-hop the sound of my generation talking to itself, working through the fears and anxieties and inchoate dreams—of wealth or power or revolution or success—we all shared. It broadcast an exaggerated version of our complicated interior lives to the world, made us feel less alone in the madness of the era, less marginal. Of course, all that didn't matter to my mother. All she knew was that I could effortlessly recite hip-hop lyrics while struggling with my English class.

Related Characters: Wes Moore (Moore/The Author) (speaker), Joy
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:
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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:
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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.

Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
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Joy Character Timeline in The Other Wes Moore

The timeline below shows where the character Joy 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
...Nikki; she is seven years older than he is and her real first name is Joy, the same as their mother. (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence Theme Icon
Joy immigrated to the United States at three years old from a quiet, rural part of... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
...order to host his own radio program. It is in this position that he meets Joy, who loves how different he is from Bill. The two marry, and Moore is born.... (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.... (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
...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 their increasingly... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence Theme Icon
...Dr. James Thomas, used to be a minister, while his grandmother, Winell, taught elementary school. Joy tells the children happy stories of growing up in the Bronx, but when they arrive... (full context)
Chapter 3: Foreign Ground
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
...kids in their school. Despite having graduated from the New York public school system herself, Joy was worried about the prospect of sending her son to public school, thinking it would... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence Theme Icon
...Justin comes from a very similar background yet is receiving top grades. Moore confesses that Joy is threatening to send him to military school, but doesn’t really believe she’ll follow through... (full context)
Chapter 4: Marking Territory
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
...in the Bronx, Moore is rapping along to a song about drugs while a horrified Joy looks on. Moore has been performing badly in school, and Joy is beginning to believe... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence Theme Icon
Moore panics, dreading the thought of Joy having to collect him from jail. His relationship with his mother is already under strain... (full context)
Chapter 5: Lost
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence Theme Icon
...smile” before leaving. Moore explains that this is his first morning at military school, which Joy has sent him to after he was put on academic and disciplinary probation at Riverdale.... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence Theme Icon
...never mentioned. In his first days at the school, Moore is filled with rage at Joy for sending him there, and tries to run away four times in as many days.... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence Theme Icon
...apologize for his past behavior and beg to be let home. Before he can finish, Joy cuts him off and tells him that he is not going anywhere; his family are... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence Theme Icon
Joy repeats that she loves Moore and is proud of him and that “it’s time to... (full context)
Chapter 6: Hunted
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence Theme Icon
...“a coordinated ‘Yes Sergeant.’” He has now been at Valley Forge for three years, and Joy has noticed that he is more polite, has better posture, and carries himself with a... (full context)
Chapter 8: Surrounded
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
...of attending such a prestigious institution, but also going home to Baltimore. His relationship with Joy has improved dramatically since he first enrolled at Valley Forge and he now sees her... (full context)
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Race, Inequality, and Injustice Theme Icon
Discipline and Violence Theme Icon
...sense of common humanity and peace is of vital importance. When Moore next speaks to Joy on the phone, she tells him about the crazy coincidence that the Baltimore police department... (full context)
Epilogue
Luck vs. Choice Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...other characters in the book progressed up until the point at which he is writing. Joy lives just outside Baltimore, working for a consultancy that works with charitable foundations. Nikki runs... (full context)