Moore has asked Wes about how his father’s absence affected him, but Wes denies that it had much impact. Wes contrasts his experience with that of Moore, whose father wanted to be with his family but wasn’t able to be. Moore explains that this conversation took placed during one of his first visits to prison. He describes witnessing many signs indicating that “the prisoners were owned by the state.” Talking on the phone through bulletproof glass, Wes asks Moore about the impact of his own father’s absence. Moore admits that he misses his father “all the time,” but that he isn’t sure about the impact that his father’s absence had on him. Both men ponder the question in silence.
Despite Moore’s impressive educational and professional success, he still has much to figure out and is able to learn more about himself through his conversations with Wes. The constructive nature of their relationship is haunted, however, by the constant reminder that Wes is trapped in prison and “owned by the state.” Although Wes can learn and grow in his mind, there is little he can do to alter his life in a substantial way.