A Black Man's Tribute To His White Mother In The Color Of Water

Good Essays
The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother is a profound novel narrated by James McBride about the idiosyncratic life of his mother, Ruth. Throughout the course of the novel, the reader slowly learns about Ruth McBride-Jordan’s life as told by her eighth son. The storyline in this book is non-linear, and therefore one learns about Ruth by gradually piecing together the bits of her captivating life. At the start of the novel the reader learns that Ruth is a Polish Jew who grew up traveling around the country. She hardly tells her children anything about her life. One learns that in the course of her life, Ruth transitioned from being a shy and submissive girl to a fiercely independent and strong-willed mother. She starts…show more content…
She overcomes the losses of several important people in her life, and moves on to become a better person. At one point, James says, “My mother is the only individual I have ever known who has been in the process of moving on for ten years straight” (McBride 268). Ruth was crippled by the losses of both Andrew and Hunter, and became loose with her parenting style. Eventually, after many years, she got a grip and began to parent her children. Although there were rough patches, she overcomes the losses of her husbands. James even found his mother’s old best friend, Frances, and the pair were reunited. James recalls the experience in the novel, saying, “After the trip, she and Frances picked up where their high school friendship left off and remain close today…” (McBride 274). Ruth visits Suffolk and makes peace with her past. She even goes to a New Brown Memorial Church reunion and gives a riveting speech, making peace with her husband Andrew’s death. James says, “For years, Mommy never talked about my father…she saw her marriage to him as the beginning of her life ,and thus his death as part of its end…” (McBride 253). She also accepts the death of his brother, and learns to make peace with with what happened between her and her sister. She is more content than she was at the beginning of the story, and has come to terms with her
Get Access