The Color of Water Thematic Essay

1142 Words Sep 14th, 2008 5 Pages
In The Color of Water, author James McBride writes both his autobiography and a tribute to the life of his mother, Ruth McBride. In the memoirs of the author’s mother and of himself, they constantly face discrimination from their race in certain neighborhoods and of their religious beliefs. The trials and tribulations faced by these two characters have taught readers universally that everyone faces difficulties in life, but they can all be surmounted.
Whenever Ruth or James McBride face any forms of racism, especially for being related to each other, having different skin colors, they can always look to religion to aid them through these tough times. It appears so that in the book, religion knows no race, and therefore is very accepting
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However, she didn’t know how to drive, and was generally afraid to get behind the wheel. On that day, she drove crazily on the road, and declared to never drive again. James McBride also reflected on his life up to a teenager, who knew that bad things would occur in the not too distant future if he didn’t change his ways and behavior. Gradually, James McBride began to give serious consideration to the warnings of his sister Jack and Chicken Man. So he decided, “Like my own mother did in times of stress, I turned to God.” This helped him to cope with all these current problems in his life. He also reflected on his past obsession with drugs, especially marijuana, referring to it as his friend, and it kept him from running from the truth. But the truth was that his mother was falling apart emotionally from the death of her second husband. So with this tragedy, she “staggered about in an emotional stupor for nearly a year.” But in the midst of all this, she did not stop moving, and persisted, as if her life depended on it. Ruth McBride then began the habit of riding her bicycle through the all-black neighborhood she and her children lived, oblivious to everyone’s opinion. The bicycle is a symbol, representing Ruth McBride’s outlet of being able to cope with her second husband’s death by having it become an escape from reality, and yet negotiating what her reality has become as well. This reflects the theme because it shows how these two people, Ruth and

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