Ruth's name changes are significant with respect to her identity and life, because altering her name was then she starts to find herself, changing and discovering growth, despite of her countless façades.
In the beginning of the story, Ruth describes herself as “dead” subsequent to the abandonment she felt from her family after marrying a black man. When had moved to New York, starting a family with her husband, was then took place an altercation, where she was now known as Ruth McBride Jordan; taking on and battling numerous obstacles and limitations. During the introduction of the story, it started off as Ruth giving the impression of her past self as “dead”. She states, “I'm dead. You want to talk about my family and here I been dead to them for fifty years...they want no parts of me and me I don't want no part of them.” Elucidating the problem of which she faced, having her parents clearly rejecting the choices of Ruth's decision.
(P.1 Ruth McBride Jordan)
Throughout the story, the point of view alters between her son, James, and Ruth, herself. Having the point of views switch, will give an insight on the pain she felt, did, and struggled with. Since Ruth was forced into Judaism, she always resented it, and when she finally moved to New York she converted to Christianity. Ruth wanted her kids to take school seriously and teach them that race doesn't matter because we are all human beings, but during the sixties, it was often arduous for James, in which he
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Ruth just want to get out of poverty and to have a happy family. She doesn’t want to lose her opportunity to get out of the too small dilapidated apartment of which her family is forced to live in do to their lack of finances.
Racial divisions had always been a source of conflict for Ruth. Her struggles began as a young child and followed her into her adulthood. She felt the pressures from racial divisions at her school and in her very own home. The internal conflict that Ruth felt regarding race stemmed from the hatred that she had experienced with the white people from her childhood and the acceptance that Ruth had felt from the black people she had encountered.
Ruth’s Jewish background, her conversion to Christianity, and James’ childhood influence James’ confusion with his identity. Ruth was born Jewish and lived her life experiencing multiple situations of discrimination growing up. Jews and Blacks were hated upon during that period and by her marrying a black man, it attracted even more discrimination towards her. James experienced discrimination when he was younger because he was black. James knows nothing about Ruth’s past because she had kept it a secret from him and his siblings since they were young. Ruth had taught them a mindset that is set to focus only on education and religion, not focusing on anything else so they couldn’t question other ideas Ruth did not want them to see. When Ruth was living in New York with her husband Andrew McBride, Ruth found out that her mother
* James notices that his mother’s skin color than his friends’ mothers’ skin color are different, so Ruth tells him “Who cares about your friends’ mothers’ skin color? Just educate your mind.”
“Rachel Shilsky is dead as far as I’m concerned (2)” according to Ruth, she is expressing her erased her identity. She has erased her past, so much she even has to relearn how to drive.Her growth impacts the book as a whole, because it gives more insight how Ruth became the strong person that she is today. Without her growth, the book would be meaningless. One of the most meaningful changes was her self esteem. Ruth expresses, “I’d like to say I didn’t care about my classmates, and what they thought of me. But when I was a teenager I wanted to be like them” (109). James states ”She had absolutely no interest in a world that seem incredibly agitated by our presence. The stares and remarks, the glances and cackles that we hard went right over her head, but not over mine” (100). The first quote proved how Ruth was insecure and wanted to be accepted in her teenage years. However, as Ruth ages she could care less what people think of her. As Ruth mentions more and more of her past, important messages occur. After her mother dies, Ruth proclaims “That’s why you have to say ‘all of your sorrys’ and ‘I love yous’ while a person is living because tomorrow isn’t promised” ( 217). This may seem a like a simple act, nonetheless many people don’t say these words enough. Furthermore, Ruth teaches readers that people to be themselves, since she was individualist. All these message drive the book, because as Ruth makes these sudden realizations, so does James. Ruth’s important messages help James discover who he is and what his intentions are in life. Ruth makes the Color of Water a meaningful book, not only for fascinating, complex past but also her character journey that produces meaningful life
Ruth was emotionally abandoned she wanted someone to return the love she had been giving out. The mere idea of her having to go the rest of her life in that state frightened her. If she was emotionally supported by her husband she would have been happier. This shows that her mental state shows abandonment of women.
Ruth was a source of knowledge that James trusted growing up. James, being a mixed child, is confused about what skin color God would have, so he asks his mother,”
Throughout the novel, it is Old Mrs. Hall who represents (with a cold bitter insistence) the traditional representations of the wife and mother. While Ruth’s marriage was in no way a radical departure from tradition, it does not seem to have been based (entirely) on an old paradigm that was rapidly becoming antiquated in the wake of modernity. To
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
When Hunter Jordan passed away in the Color of Water, both Ruth and James were affected by his death. Hunter died of a stroke at the age of seventy-two. Ruth and James were affected similarly but yet differently. Starting with Ruth, she contrasts from her son James because she was more nonchalant about the situation. For instance, James, the narrator, says that “I would see my mother pedaling her blue bicycle. She would ride in slow motion across our street… It was her way of grieving” (McBride 2). Ruth seem to not let the past get at her best nor the present. She simply cruises through life, on her bicycle, as it continues. On the other hand, James was the opposite of Ruth because he committed crimes. As proof, he states “I virtually dropped
The author James Mcbride uses diction in chapter 5, of the book “The Color of Water”, to prove the theme. The author displays Ruth’s low self-esteem due to her father killing her self-esteem
Ruth led a life broken in two. Her later life consists of the large family she creates with the two men she marries, and her awkwardness of living between two racial cultures. She kept her earlier life a secret from her children, for she did not wish to revisit her past by explaining her precedent years. Once he uncovered Ruth 's earlier life, James could define his identity by the truth of Ruth 's pain, through the relations she left behind and then by the experiences James endured within the family she created. As her son, James could not truly understand himself until he uncovered the truth within the halves of his mother 's life, thus completing the mold of his own
The middle of the book takes more of a look of some of the prejudices that both Ruth and James went through during their upbringing. Ruth begins to talk about the difficulties that came with being Jewish and living in the South during that time period. She was always the target for mockery by her peers, but fortunately met a girl named Frances who truly accepted her for who she was. They would spend a lot of time together, most of the time at Frances’ house due Tateh’s discern for gentiles. James also faced similar prejudices at school. Since his mother put so much of an emphasis on schoolwork, James and all of his siblings would have to go to predominantly Jewish schools and were the objects of ridicule for the other students. There was one instance in particular in which James was asked by his classmates to dance because of a predisposed idea that because he was black he could dance. He danced for the class, but conflicting thoughts were rushing through his mind. He felt accepted by his peers, but also ashamed that he stooped so low to gain that acceptance. This example as well as other instances that occurred with his siblings showed the racial tensions that were filling the air at that time.
The name Ruchel Dwarja Zylska is significant because during this time, Ruth didn't fit in with others. Since she had a Jewish name, she was an outcast which leads up to the first name change. As a young girl, Ruth didn't really understand the aspects of life. In The Color of Water it states, “In school the kids called me “Christ killer” and “Jew baby”. The name stuck with me for a long time” (pg. 31). Clearly, this was a