James McBride's The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother

James McBride's The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother

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Philosopher George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Whether individuals are silly or wise, studying incidents from their history provides them valuable lessons. By unrolling their memories, people can draw wisdom from prior errors and safeguard their futures. James McBride typifies this notion when he weaves his mother Ruth’s old times and his new world in his memoir The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. Via James’s quest for his mother's heritage as a struggling biracial kid, McBride portrays the strength of Ruth who endures social and economic hardships raising twelve biracial children. Despite Ruth’s reticence on her painful upbringing, the author discloses that her past guides her present behavior and strengthens her to overcome challenges of building her children’s future.
Fundamentally, Ruth’s Jewish immigrant heritage builds her essential beliefs that self sufficiency and education lead to her kids’ success. Ruth recalls her working in her father Tateh’s store during her childhood in Suffolk, “We worked there from morning till night, except for school, and Tateh had us timed for that” (McBride 41). Ruth’s Jewish immigrant parents discipline Ruth with an unyielding work ethic by running their family business on her free time and completing her homework between customers. . Therefore, Ruth develops self sufficiency. Consequently, this part of history holds profound influence on Ruth’s parenting skill since she knows no other ways for raising her children besides her own upbringing from her Jewish family. Ruth cannot entirely dismiss her history, instead, she instills the value of independence and discipline in her kids. Moreover, Ruth embraces education...


... middle of paper ...


...r fondness and loyalty to her children and their future.
Accordingly, although Ruth shelters her children from her painful past, she reconciles her experiences and becomes a wiser and stronger mother to raise her accomplished children. Ruth’s memories reveal a mother’s triumph in providing an optimistic outlook for her kids. Similarly, when people reflect on their past, especially via their defeat and agony, they can gain wisdom by understanding how problems developed and how people approached them. These reflections also help individuals understand who they are today and where they are going tomorrow. Lessons from the old days can empower them to adjust their present behaviors and to reach their goals in a brighter prospect.


Works Cited

McBride, James. The Color of Water :A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996. Print.

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