The novel, The Color of Water follows the author and narrator James McBride, and his mother Ruth’s life. It explores their childhood—when they were both embarrassed by their mothers—through the part of their lives where they began to accept themselves for who they are. Moreover, this memoir is quite distinctive as McBride cleverly parallels his story to his mother, Ruth’s story using dual narration. This technique further helps contribute to the theme of self-identity. Throughout the novel, McBride searches for identity and a sense of belonging that derives from his multiracial family. By using two different narrations, McBride gradually establishes his identity and by integrating both narratives at the end, McBride also shows that although both narrators at the beginning had different upbringings, in the end they came together, and understood each other’s perspective.
The novel, The Color of Water follows the author and narrator James McBride and his mother Ruth’s life, through their childhood—when they were both embarrassed about their mother—through the part of their lives where they began to accept themself for who they are and became proud of it. Moreover, this memoir is quite distinctive as McBride cleverly parallels his story to his mother, Ruth’s story by using dual narration which further helps to contribute to the theme of self-identity. Throughout the novel, McBride searches for identity and a sense of self that derives from his multiracial family and through the use of two different narrations, McBride slowly establishes his identity. Plus by integrating both narratives at the end, McBride also shows that although both narrators at the beginning had different upbringing, in the end they come together and understand each other’s perspective.
Lucy believes that even though she has gone through so much pain throughout her life, it can always be worse; there are people having more difficulties in their lives. For example, she brings up this ideology when she is watching the horrors of Cambodia loomed on TV. She expresses that “she feels lucky to at least have food, clothes, and a home” in comparison to these people that have nothing. In addition, she mentions how great would it be if people stop complaining about their situations and see how much they have already; “how they have health and strength.” Likewise, James expresses a positive view about the African American outcome after the slavery period. He realizes that the acceptance of the black man in society “not only has created a new black man, but also a new white man.” He’s not a stranger anymore in America; he’s part of a new nation. Because of this achievement, he concludes, “this world is no longer white, and it will never be white
James McBride’s mother, like Tateh before her, clasps the values of education and religion close to her; according to McBride’s depiction in The Color of Water, she enforces them with an iron ﬁst, instilling them in her children as Tateh did to her, Dee-Dee, and Sam, though more out of tough love than for pride. Despite carrying on Tateh’s materialistic tendencies, Ruth keeps the balance by inheriting his recognition of the predominance of education and religion over wealth in terms of resulting quality of life. Ruth’s and Tateh’s worldview is passed on from generation to generation, from parent to child, like all values, whether or not parent and child consent to the continuation of the morals’ journey through time.
Although the main character in the book was white, the author, Sue Kidd, does a great job of depicting the African American culture during the time. Whether it was Rosaleen getting beat up in jail, or Zach dreaming of being a lawyer, this book showed you what it was like being a minority during a time when rights where still being fought for. One of the smaller conflicts in the story was a man verses man conflict, when Lily and Zach started to like each other. Though they knew that a colored man, and a white girl could never be together, they both were attracted to each other. Were they not from different cultures, people would have been fine with them dating, but because Zach was black, it couldn?t work out.
In Charles Chesnutt’s story “The Wife of His Youth,” it illustrates the reality of what individuals of mixed races had to go through in order to fit in with society. From the beginning readers are presented with troubles African American’s had to face through racial division and inequality, along with a correlation between race and color. The main character in this story, Mr. Ryder, is a great representation of how a society can influence one’s beliefs and morals. In order to become apart of the Blue Vein society, Mr. Ryder had to leave his ethnic background behind him, so he could be accepted into a white community. The purpose of the Blue Vein Society, as Chesnutt described it, "was to establish and maintain correct social standards among
Growing up, Ruth had a rough childhood growing up in a very strict jewish household. Her family was poor, her mother was physically handicapped, her father was verbally and physically abusive, and she faced prejudice and discrimination from her neighbors and classmates because she
In The Color of Water, author James McBride writes both his autobiography and a tribute to the life of his mother, Ruth McBride. In the memoirs of the author’s mother and of himself, they constantly face discrimination from their race in certain neighborhoods and of their religious beliefs. The trials and tribulations faced by these two characters have taught readers universally that everyone faces difficulties in life, but they can all be surmounted.
“Black Power”, the word alone raises an abundance of controversial issues. Black power was a civil rights movement led by the black panthers which addressed several issues including segregation and racism. Black power had a different meaning to every member of the Mc Bride family, Ruth and James both looked at black power from a different angle. In “The Color of Water”, The author James Mc Bride admired the black panthers at first, but slowly he grew afraid of them after fearing the consequences his mother might face for being a white woman in a black community influenced by black power. James’ worries were baseless, black power’s motive was to educate and improve African American communities not to create havoc or to harm members of the white community.
The relationship you have with others often has a direct effect on the basis of your very own personal identity. In the essay "On The Rainy River," the author Tim O'Brien tells about his experiences and how his relationship with a single person had effected his life so dramatically. It is hard for anyone to rely fully on their own personal experiences when there are so many other people out there with different experiences of their own. Sometimes it take the experiences and knowledge of others to help you learn and build from them to help form your own personal identity. In the essay, O'Brien speaks about his experiences with a man by the name of Elroy Berdahl, the owner of the fishing lodge that O'Brien stays at while on how journey to find himself. The experiences O'Brien has while there helps him to open his mind and realize what his true personal identity was. It gives you a sense than our own personal identities are built on the relationships we have with others. There are many influence out there such as our family and friends. Sometimes even groups of people such as others of our nationality and religion have a space in building our personal identities.