Aristotle once theorized, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” The book, “The Color of Water” describes the lives of James and Ruth McBride and their journeys to find this happiness. Both of these characters, among other characters in the book struggled for the majority of their lives with the issues of race. They felt as if they were caught between two different worlds; the world of blacks and the world of whites. These struggles left all of the characters feeling forlorn. In McBride’s memoir it is made clear that in order to find happiness, the characters must first be able to confront and then overcome the racial divisions that were so prominent in their lives.
James McBride is the son of Ruth McBride and is only one of twelve mixed race children. McBride delves into his mother’s closed off past. Something she never allowed herself to share with any of her children. He grew up in the projects. Growing up McBride did not understand his mother; he was embarrassed, and baffled by her. It was not until he was a
Does your past have a big influence to who you are and your children? Ruth McBride has been hiding her past from her children her whole life; her past shaped her and James’ life despite all the struggles he had with his identity. In The Color of Water by James McBride, his character is shaped by the influence that Ruth, his mother, gives by being secretive about her past. James struggles with his identity from when he was a child to an adult, which over time became a major issue he struggles to deal with. Ruth’s secrets about her past influence James’ confusion with himself and motivates him to find out who he is in order to gain closure with himself.
In the short story “Goodbye, Sweetwater” by Henry Dumas the major conflict that the characters have is related to the time period that the story takes place in. Dumas wrote this story during the year of 1964 when racial oppression and segregation were at its highest during the Civil Rights Movement. The main character Layton, is an African American young boy that experiences the Civil Rights Movement at its peak during the summer of 1964. The historical aspect and the time period in this story becomes very important in revealing the conflict of the story.
James grew up as a black child living in a black neighborhood with a white mother during one of history’s biggest era’s for civil rights movements. The title “The Color of Water” correlates to the issues about religion and race that occur in the book with major characters such as Ruth and James. The aspects that had the most significant impact on James’ identity is environment because of the racist and segregated times, the poor neighborhood he was raised in and his mother, Ruth.
In the Color of Water, Ruth Mcbride has an important significance, because her complex past is what propels the book. Without her, the book would not be nearly as interesting. James Mcbride, Ruth’s son and author of the book, portrays Ruth as a secretive, un maternal like, and spiritual woman. Ever since James was a child, he remembers his mother never mentioning her past or her racial identity. James notes:”She had a complete distrust authority and an insistence on complete privacy which seemed to make her and my family odder .... Matters involving race and identity she ignored (9) Ruth keeps her past hidden away from her children, so that she doesn’t have to relive painful memories or inquire her past. In doing so, Ruth also doesn’t label
The memoir “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston, was first published in 1928, and recounts the situation of racial discrimination and prejudice at the time in the United States. The author was born into an all-black community, but was later sent to a boarding school in Jacksonville, where she experienced “race” for the first time. Hurston not only informs the reader how she managed to stay true to herself and her race, but also inspires the reader to abandon any form of racism in their life. Especially by including Humor, Imagery, and Metaphors, the author makes her message very clear: Everyone is equal.
James McBride 's memoir, The Color of Water, demonstrates a man 's search for identity and a sense of self that derives from his multiracial family. His white mother, Ruth 's abusive childhood as a Jew led her to search for acceptance in the African American community, where she made her large family from the two men she marries. James defines his identity by truth of his mother 's pain and exceptionality, through the family she creates and the life she leaves behind. As a boy, James questions his unique family and color through his confusion of issues of race. Later in his life, as an adolescent, his racial perplexity results in James hiding from his emotions, relying only on the anger he felt against the world. It is
James McBride's memoir, The Color of Water, demonstrates a man's search for identity and a sense of self that derives from his multiracial family. His white mother, Ruth's abusive childhood as a Jew led her to search for acceptance in the African American community, where she made her large family from the two men she marries. James defines his identity by truth of his mother's pain and exceptionality, through the family she creates and the life she leaves behind. As a boy, James questions his unique family and color through his confusion of issues of race. Later in his life, as an adolescent, his racial perplexity results in James hiding from his emotions, relying only on the anger he felt against the
At the beginning of The Color of Water, James McBride’s mother Ruth goes on to introduce particular aspects about her upbringing. She mentions how she grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family and begins to describe both her parents. Ruth’s father was a very cold and hard individual who didn’t care too much for his children’s overall well-being, while her mother was very sweet and kind in nature. She also goes on to talk about how her family was originally from Poland but decided to move to the United States from fear of oppression from the Russian government. Along with outside forces that proved to be a problem for Ruth’s family were similarities in oppressive behaviors in their family as well. Since Ruth’s family were Orthodox Jews,
In Russel Banks “Black Man and White Woman in a Dark Green Rowboat” The author implies that dealing with an unexpected pregnancy may be a difficult and uncomfortable situation. This story discusses a couple that is dealing with a unique circumstance and they have to make a decision. As a reader, you won’t want to miss the tension of this interracial couple as they battle against the pressure of society. I will be discussing symbolism as well as setting throughout this entire essay. In the first section I will be addressing the surroundings; establish a foundation , and illuminate some background on this story. The next part of my essay will be focusing on the conflict and how the setting demonstrates the tension between the main characters. The final section will focus on the resolution, how the lack of change in the setting is symbolic, and has a deeper meaning.
“I'm dead. You want me to talk about my family and here I been dead to them for fifty years.” - Ruth McBride Jordan. Ruth McBride Jordan is a strong Polish Jewish woman with 12 children who firmly believes in work, school, and religion. Ruth undergoes many different changes within both herself and her family throughout The Color of Water, causing her to change her name 3 times in a way of reviving herself. These 3 names are significant with respect to her identity and her life because they represent a time in her life where she tried to change in order to make her it better. These name changes lead up to a manageable time of life for Ruth. The name Ruchel Dwarja Zylska is significant because it represents her when she was young naive girl who didn't understand the aspects of life. The second name, Rachel Deborah Shilsky, represents a time in her life where she tried to change her ways in order to fit in. The final name, Ruth McBride Jordan, stands for a time when she finally moves on with life and leaves behind all of the toxic things that once troubled her.
The early 1900s was a very challenging time for Negroes especially young women who developed issues in regards to their identities. Their concerns stemmed from their skin colors. Either they were fair skinned due mixed heritage or just dark skinned. Young African American women experienced issues with racial identity which caused them to be in a constant struggle that prohibits them from loving themselves and the skin they are in. The purpose of this paper is to examine those issues in the context of selected creative literature. I will be discussing the various aspects of them and to aid in my analysis, I will be utilizing the works of Nella Larsen from The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, Jessie Bennett Redmond Fauset,