Find scholarly articles discussing the various influential factors on the two Wes's diverging paths.
PsycINFO - Psychological and Social-Psychological Factors
How did personality traits play a role? The interaction of social and psychological factors? Responses to aggression/violence? Presence or lack of role models?
Sociological Abstracts - Social and Environmental Factors
What social factors were significant? Education? Family support and structure? Urban environment? Race? Income differences and poverty? Interaction of all of these?
Criminal Justice Abstracts - Crime/Criminal Justice Factors
How did the drug trade factor into both Wes's lives? Why did one get engulfed in it, while the other didn't? Considering the "other" Wes was in and out of prison (what scholars call "recidivism"), did the criminal justice system help him, or fail him?
ERIC - Educational Factors
What factors are most significant in impacting children's academic achievement? School resources? Family structure? Type of school, e.g. military school vs. private school vs. public school? Good role models? Others' expectations and one's own aspirations and motivation?
Jahan Mahdi, intern from Valdosta State University's Master of Library and Information Science program, for creating this guide, with assistance from La Loria Konata, Coordinator of Student Services, and Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh, Sociology Librarian.
Young Wes makes the statement, "I was becoming too "rich" for the kids from the neighborhood and too "poor" for the kids at school... thinking way too much in each situation and getting tangled in the contradiction between my two worlds." How does Wes cope with the psychological effect of living in two worlds? Why did he make this choice?
Does the story demonstrate the idea of "nature vs. nurture" or being a product of your environment?
While visiting the other Wes, the author expresses the potential and dangers of expectations we have about people. Such expectations, he believes, have the power to shape an individual's outcomes. What do you think? How have expectations shaped you?
The author asks, "Do you think we're all just products of our environment?" The other Wes responds with his belief that expectations have the potential and danger to shape an individuals' outcomes. However, the author dislikes the idea of shedding responsibility and "dropping it at the feet of others." What does this say about the author's own expectations? For himself? For others?
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