Identity In The Color Of Water By James Mcbride

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In The Color of Water by James McBride, the author tells an autobiography of himself as well as a biography of his mother. The novel tells the story of both the lives of James and his mother Ruth and all of the hardships that the two had faced. Ruth was a Jewish woman who grew up in a home where she was abused and in towns where she was treated poorly for being Jewish. She fell in love with an African American man who she married and as a result was disowned from her family. Since her past was something she could hardly bare to think about, she never shared details with her 12 children leaving them in the dark about their real identities. James McBride, growing up in New York City, struggled with his identity for as long as he could remember. …show more content…

The change of setting landed him in Suffolk, Virginia. He returned with a renewed mindset of where he came from, who he was, who his mother was, along with information about his mother’s family. James grew up with limited information on his family, so growing up James had no idea who he really was. His mother Ruth refused to tell her children about her life. Throughout the novel, there is a lot of prejudice and hatred towards both Ruth and James. Ruth was a Jewish woman who married a black man and later converted to Christianity. James was the son of a white mother and a black father. His entire life he was told by his parents that the color of his skin didn’t mean anything and that he should focus on school and religion. Of course, that was easier said than done. He always felt that he didn’t fit in with the white kids since he wasn’t as white as them but he didn’t fit in with the black kids either since he was lighter than them and his mother was not like their mothers. When James asked if God was black or …show more content…

No matter what school was to be his priority. Ruth made sure of it when she placed all of her kids in the best schools she could get them into. When Hunter Jordan; James’s stepfather passed away, James completely fell off track. He began doing poorly in school and eventually dropped out. His mother made many attempts to try and resolve the issue, his 7 older siblings also did too. His older brothers made sure to beat him up for trying to mess up his life. James eventually got involved with drugs and became associated with other kinds of crimes. The once focused and determined child had become a young man who had no real care for how he ended up. As a final attempt to try and steer James back on track, Ruth sent James to stay with his older sister Jack for the summer. Jack and her husband; Big Richard, lived in Louisville, Kentucky. Jack and Richard told James that they didn’t care what he did as long as he didn’t get into trouble or bring it into the house. James cared about their opinions however. While in Kentucky, big Richard introduced James to a few men who James spent a lot of time with. Chicken Man was a man who spent a lot of time drinking and had basically wasted most of his life. James learned the most he’d ever learned from these men. He learned the consequences of being uneducated and being involved in the crime world. After a

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