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Ruth's Unique Identity In The Color Of Water By James Mcbride

Decent Essays
Ruth’s Unique Identity

According to Brenda Shoshanna, an author and psychologist, “Unless we base our sense of identity upon the truth of who we are, it is impossible to attain true happiness” Everyone on Earth has their own unique identity, and if they do not have an identity they will always be struggling to find it. In The Color of Water by James McBride, the author tries to understand his mother’s identity in hopes that it will help him find his own as well. After learning his mother’s life story and going back to her hometown, James finds that Ruth’s family made the most impact on her identity because of her hypocritical father, kind mother, and her evasive siblings. Tateh made a very large impact on his daughter’s identity because
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There was only one good thing that Ruth took away from her father; She needed to be strict with her children about their education, but still loving at the same time. This parenting style became a part of Ruth, and shaped her identity of how to act as a mother and a member of society. Tateh was a terrible and hypocritical father, but he did help shape Ruth’s identity by showing her all of his flaws. Mameh made a significant impact on her daughter because her kindness and ability to persevere through tough situations taught Ruth to never give up on her life and family. When Ruth decides to leave Suffolk for good, Mameh tries to persuade her daughter to stay, but Ruth replies with, “‘I can’t live here, Mameh,’ and she didn’t bring it up ever again or ask me to stay any longer” illustrating that Mameh knows there is nothing left for Ruth, and even though Mameh needs people to take care of her, she chooses to put her family first (McBride 214). Ruth values her mother's selflessness, and makes sure that she does the same for her own children as well. Another characteristic that Ruth admires is her mother’s ability to not stand down, even though she is constantly abused and insulted by her husband. After Tateh gets another girlfriend, he tries to get Mameh to divorce him, but Ruth, who is caught in the middle, writes “She refused, and I could understand her dilemma
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