The Other Wes Moore One Name, Two Fates
“The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his” (Moore, 2010, front cover). The Other Wes Moore is about two guys with the same name but end up going down totally different paths in life, hence the quote. In this paper it will discuss the novel, The Other Wes Moore, describe their social location, and describe the sociological perspectives used in sociology and analyze excerpts from the book using each of the three sociological perspectives.
Social location is the combination of social factors which locate someone in society (Henslin,2013, pg. 4). Social location includes: Sex/Gender, age, social class, race/ethnicity, culture, religion, & sexual orientation (Henslin, 2013, pg. 4). Both Wes Moores have a different classification when it comes to social location. When it comes to classifying their social location they are both males, they are around the same age, they are both middle class. Both boys have the same ethnicity, same culture, and from what we know they both have the same sexual orientation. Where social location comes into play the most is definitely in social class. When one thinks about social class it has a lot of impact in many different areas. When Wes and his family have to move he gets put into a private school which is expensive. It's not about the money with Wes's mom it's about him getting the proper education and about him shaping up so he doesn't get into any trouble.
Sociological perspectives are a type of tool to help with analysis and discussions. Each sociological perspective views issues in its own way. The first perspective is conflict, which has a macro view on issues. Macro focuses on large scale patterns in society (Halperin, 2/13/15). Conflict has to do with an issue or matter that is causing a rather long discussion and can potentially cause a problem. When addressing conflict there are three questions to ask, “Who are the parties involved?What are the resources? How does the conflict shape the parties and society at large?” (Halperin, 2/13/15). If one thinks an issue might be a conflict ask these questions and if they can be answered then this would be the correct sociological perspective.
The second sociological perspective is functionalism and it just like conflict has a macro view on issues. When thinking about functionalism break the word up and it will help to give you a clear definition. Each part of the problem with function individually and then they will work together to cooperate. Functionalism like conflict has three questions that need to be answered. “ What parts of society are involved? What functions do the parts play? How are they related to one another/ or how do they impact one another” (Halperin, 2/13/15). If these questions can't be answered then it doesn't fall under the perspective of functionalism.
The last sociological perspective and the most challenging to recognize is symbolic interaction. Symbolic interaction focuses on how human beings interpret symbols and communicate and forge a sense of self ( Halperin, 2/13/15). Symbolic interaction has five/six questions that need to be answered “What communication is taking place? What symbols are being used &/or how is the communication taking place? How does the communication shape perception? How are the parties being influenced by their interaction with one another? What social roles are being played out? (Halperin. 2/13/15).
In the book there are many great examples to go along with the sociological perspective of conflict. The one that has the most impact in my mind is definitely the fight with Wes and his mom where his mother finds his hidden drugs under his bed and flushed them down the toilet. Wes and his mom got in a huge fight because when she flushed all the drugs he lost a source of income which made him...
References: Halperin, J. (n.d.). Sociological Perspectives. Handout obtained February 3, 2015 from class.
Henslin, J. (2013) Essentials of Sociology: A down-to-earth approach, (10th edition). Boston, MA: Pearson Publishing.
Moore, W. (2011). The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. New York, NY: Random House Publishing Group.
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