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The Color of Water, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 600

Essay

The Color of Water” by James McBride

“The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother” is an autobiographical piece written by James McBride and a tribute to his mother. The chapters of the book alternate between personal account of his mother Ruth about her life and the descriptions of James’s early life. McBride shows contradicting emotions that he went through during his personal struggle of discovering who he really was while Ruth speaks about the trouble she had to overcome being a white Jewish woman who married a black man in 1940’s.

In his book James McBride retraces the footsteps of his mother and recreates her extraordinary story of life. Ruth was born into a loveless marriage of her sexually-abusive father and a handicapped mother. Her father owned a grocery store and made his children work there hard before and after school. Father of Ruth sexually abused her as a child and did not allow to be friends with Gentiles. However, Ruth had a secret friend Frances as well as had a black boyfriend called Peter. At that time segregation was in action and the two had to meet secretly. Having become pregnant from her boyfriend, Ruth was sent to her aunts to make an abortion and find job at the leather factory. Ruth got married with a man Andrew Dennis McBride who was the father of her son James. Andrew was a pastor and a very carrying father but unfortunately he died of lung cancer. Together Ruth and her husband had eight children. Ruth remarried to Hunter Jordan, another black man, and had four more kids. During all her life she was carefully hiding her Jewish upbringing or any of the family members she had.

Ruth has learnt thought her life that “blacks have always been peaceful and trusting”. This comprehensive statement could be made only if the person saw people as a group rather than individuals with differences. She didn’t judge them separately. Ruth and later her son found that blacks on the corner of the street are better than those powerful white men. Woman doesn’t take into consideration the influence of environmental factors and racism.

Another reason for Ruth’s favor of black people over white was in her upbringing and childhood. She grew up as a Jew while her father had strong dislike of Jews. No matter her parent’s impact girl never had any prejudice against her race, but she found herself fit better into the black world than the white one. When Ruth got married to a black man, she accepted Christ and told her kids that “God is the color of water”. She used her chance wise to teach her children that God is color blind and loves all races. Ruth’s family disowned her when she married a black man but it didn’t matter for her. Her husband has changed her life. Ruth became a person she is because of him. Her second marriage was a good one as well. Therefore, with time woman started to associate herself with black people much more than with white. With every new day she realized that these people are much better and kind than those of her own race.

“The Color of Water” emphasizes the power of education and faith. Ruth as the mother proves this in her personal struggle against religion, poverty and race. Her self-determination to assist her children overcome these obstacles and trouble during the time of discrimination is remarkable. She strongly demonstrates that knowledge gives power. Ruth showed that with strong will even a low-income mother could raise twelve college educated, outstanding and productive citizens.

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