The Color Of Water Essay, Research Paper
Critique and Summary of James McBride s
The Color of Water
Growing up in the home of Ruth McBride Jordan proves to be an ever-testing, but advantageous adventure for her twelve children. As a child, Ruth is abused by her Orthodox Jewish rabbi father, and she is forced to work long hours in the family store. Ruth finds forbidden love in the arms of a Black man. She eventually marries another Black man, and sheds her White Jewish background. Her children face identity problems and often wonder why their
mother s face does not look like their own. Ruth carefully avoids the subject and makes sure that the focus of her children is education and religion.
James, the seventh of the twelve children, is stuck in the middle of an age-ranked household. He is tortured by his siblings and grows ashamed of his mother s face. Stuck between two worlds, he struggles to find his place in society because of his mother s secretive past.
All of the Jordan McBride children became successful adults from various professions. James tells the story of his and his mother s past through the pages of a very powerful novel. The struggles that Ruth and her family endured because of their race were heart-breaking. The piece
of literature is well-written and truly describes the hatred that some humans feel toward others. Ruth is a little ahead of her time, and if she had been born 20 years later, her life may have been
Although discrimination and racism is prevalent in today s society, the nation has come far from the way it was in the 1920 s. It is not rare to find a child with parents of various racial backgrounds. Categorizing a person as a specific race is nearly impossible in the new millennium. It seems to serve only as a purpose to separate people or discriminate against a group of people. Had this not been a part of American society, Ruth s children would have no
problem with identity. They would be Americans and not Black, White, Jewish, mixed, mulatto, or any other foolish title.
Ruth is an example of a strong woman who defies the popular beliefs of her time. She may not think that she was active in the civil rights movement, but she was in an indirect fashion. By raising open-minded citizens, she helped to spread the morals regarding race that have grown very popular. Even in her old age, she continues to defy what society wants her to believe. Society wants her to fear the projects and dwellings of Black people. Her own children
attempt to keep her from catching the subway to see her life-long friends in neighborhoods that are considered high risk.
The Color of Water serves as stepping-stone for Ruth to uncover her past for herself and the family members who adore and depend on her. Ruchel Dwajra Zylska evolves into Rachel Deborah Shilsky and grows into Ruth McBride Jordan. Through her evolution and growth, she teaches her children that through their education and religion they can and will become successful citizens. Her strength and perseverance can be seen through the success of her dozen children who overcome the adversity of identity, race, and poverty.