Two boys are living in the same city, Baltimore, with the same name Wes Moore. They lead different lives and do not know about each other. However, they have not only the same name, both Wes Moores have much more in common as they both are searching for answers that bother them. In this analysis, we are going to investigate the structure of the piece of writing and rhetorical appeals that help the author to demonstrate the importance of our decisions that define the way of life which we will lead and the destination where we could arrive. This aim is also defined by the author: “The book is meant to show how, for those of us who live in the most precarious places in this country; our destinies can be determined by a single stumble down the wrong path, or a tentative step down the right one. This is our story” (p.3).
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One of these two boys is the author of the book. The author Wes Moore is a successful youth advocate, respected war veteran, and business leader. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University, he entered the Unites States Army and was honoured as a White House Fellow in 2006. He always shows a respect to Army veterans and tries to support them. Moreover, he has founded an organization “STAND!” that is working with youth involved in criminal justice system. After publishing his book “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates”, he was honoured by such media as The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, and many other for the importance of issues that he considers in his book. Telling about two young boys, Wes appeals to young people with a purpose to redirect their lives and to show the importance of every decision that they make. Moreover, he appeals to all public servants such as teachers, volunteers, and all others that are working with children encouraging them to understand the importance of their mission as they are also responsible for helping young people to find the right way in their life.
The introduction and the first chapter of the book are under our consideration. In the introduction, the author tells shortly about himself and what he is going to write about. He saw his name in one of the local newspapers after achieving one prestigious scholarship. However, he was surprised by seeing that there are two news reports about Wes Moore. One was about his scholarship, and another one was about Wes Moore who was caught by the police for being involved into a murder. Firstly, the author could not understand all this. However, later, he has found that there is one more man with the same name, Wes Moore. He is also living in this town but has completely another life. The author wondered how two people in the same town, with the same name, and around the same age can lead completely different ways of life. He was thinking a lot and after some time, decided to write a letter to this another man with an explanation who he is and what he wants. Dozens of other letters followed after this one and overgrew into many prison visits and discussions. The Rhodes Scholar Wes Moore was so excited by all the facts that he found in these conversations that he decided to write a book about this called “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates”.
The main purpose of the book is to show is the importance of the environment in which you are growing up, choice, circumstances, education, and support of other people. The author tries to show us how limited our lives are. He shows that everything that we make is not really our own choice. We are just trying to satisfy the hopes of our parents, friends, and families; we are stuck in the society in which we live not knowing what the real freedom is. We are familiar with the places where we live, people who we know, jobs which do. However, our purpose is to find this freedom of our actions and minds; and when we find it, we should show it to others and try to keep it.
Considering the sentence: “There were nights when I would wake up in the small hours and find myself thinking of other Wes Moore, conjuncting image as best I could, a man my age lying on a cot in a prison cell, burdened by regret, trying to sleep through another night surrounded by the walls he´d escape only at death. Sometimes, in my imaginings, his face was mine” (p.45), we see how Moore emphasizes the importance of life circumstances and makes us think about making the right choices.
The introduction is written in the first person of Wes Moore who has graduated from the high school and works now in a business sphere. In order to show his emotions and attitudes to the situation that exists between these two boys, the author Wes uses a lot of epithets to be impressive, for example, “chilling truth”, “sudden moment of decisions”. Moreover, he uses a vast amount of metaphors: “our paths diverge and our fates are sealed.” He wants to show to young people that they should be careful with taking their decisions and actions.
The author demonstrates his ethos by showing his mood and temper. He sounds trustworthy giving examples from his own life and the life of other Wes Moore. The author tells about his childhood and shows that his mother has planned his whole life making him a successful man in the future. On the contrary, he shows how the life of other Moore differs from his. His mother did not have enough money for giving him a suitable education and other opportunities to lead a well-off life. By providing these examples, Moore makes the reader think about choices that we have made by ourselves and decisions that were already determined by our social environment, persuading us to think more about our future decisions and to make the right ones by ourselves.
“I engaged in extensive historical research and interviewed teachers and drug dealers, police officers and lawyers, to make sure I got the facts – and the feel – right” (p.30). He has provided evidences and convinced the audience to believe him. This ethos shows how important is our social environment where we live and that we do not have to always follow the direction that is given by our surrounding.
Describing the hard past of his mother in the first chapter, the author uses many epithets and adjectives: “melodic, swooping movement of her Jamaican patois”. Moreover, the text is full of adverbs that are used to intensify the verbs and adjectives catching the audience’s attention to the issue (“not completely surprised”). Strengthening the enormity of the fight between his father and mother, he uses a lot of repetitions (Bill was too strong, too determined, too high”) and idioms: “They were both trying to find their feet as adults” (p.13). Using these figures of speech and other language techniques, the author appeals to the reader´s emotions (pathos); he wakes up feelings by showing to the audience that family situation has a big influence on children and their future choice of the life which to live.
Taking syntax into consideration, the author uses simple sentences in the introduction. He tries to persuade the audience to recognize the issue he presents not complicating his speech and emphasizing the main viewpoints (“The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his” (p.10)). The syntax of the first chapter differs from the introduction. Here, Wes operates with more complicated syntactic constructions. He applies to complex coordinated and subordinated sentences (“I turned from the window and stood in the middle of the room, mentally running through my nonexistent options for escape” (p.12)). Such usage appeals to audience’s emotions (pathos) making his narration more colourful, showing his emotions and attitudes, helping to understand the real state of situation and to persuade us to think more about the choice of our decisions.
Summarizing our analysis, we have to say that the author has successfully demonstrated the argument of his book by considering rhetorical triangle of three appeals: ethos, logos, and pathos. To draw the audience’s attention, the author employs such figures of speech as metaphors, similes, epithets, and repetitions using mostly the informal language (contractions, informal expressions). The Scholar Wes presents the problem of our society, how it influences our lives and how dependent we are on our social environment. He tells the story not only about two little boys with the same name who are living in the same town. Wes also tells the story of our society and limitation of our lives. He persuades us to learn how to make decisions in our lives and not always follow the conviction of other people. We have to understand that we are all equal people who are living on the same Earth and to try to make all our efforts to provide the same opportunities for everyone.
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