Identity In The Color Of Water By James Mcbride

1128 Words5 Pages

An awareness of one’s past is essential to the establishment of their personality and identity. James McBride’s, The Color of Water, is both a memoir and tribute to his mother, Ruth McBride Jordan. Throughout most of James’ life, he questioned who his mother was behind all her secretiveness and failure to educate him on her past life. Soon enough, she agrees to being interviewed by her son and continues by revealing every aspect of her identity. While being interviewed, she talks about the three names she’s lived by. She had changed her name from “Ruchel Dwajra Zylska” to “Rachel Deborah Shilsky” to “Ruth McBride Jordan.” These name changes are significant with respect to her identity and her life because each name holds a chapter to her life, …show more content…

He made an immense impact on her life and introduced her to many new things, including a new religion. Andrew himself was part of the Christian faith and soon enough, Ruth converted to Christianity. On page 43, Ruth says, “Your father changed my life. He taught me about a God who lifted me up and forgave me and made me new. I was lucky to meet him.” After converting to this new religion, church became a huge part of her life and her future children. Andrew also brought her lots of happiness and love, something she didn’t receive much of in Virginia. Sadly, he died after battling lung cancer. Months after his passing, Ruth met Hunter Jordan, a furnace fireman for the New York Housing Authority. On page 118, James recalls the ways of his stepfather and states, “He made no separation between the McBride and Jordan children, and my siblings and I never thought or referred to each other as half brothers and sister; for the powerless Little Kids, myself included, he was ‘Daddy’.” Hunter brought lots of joy into his and Ruth’s children. Even though half the bunch weren’t biologically his, he raised them as his own and showed the entire family how much he loved them. Hunter Jordan died from a stroke during James’ boyhood, leaving him behind with the responsibility of taking care of his family. After both of her husband’s passings, Ruth kept both of their last names. The two men gave her many things that she was truly grateful for, including her children. Andrew Dennis McBride and Hunter Jordan were part of the greatest chapters of her life, something she’d honor

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