Color of Water

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The Color of Water Prompt #2
The narrator in The Color of Water changes back and forth throughout the novel between the point of views of Ruth and her son James McBride. This writing style that he uses helps you better understand how Ruth grew up and how she was raised compared to how she raised James. They also dealt with a lot of the same personal issues. They both grew up in completely different times and places but they both still were confronted with a lot of the same daily struggles. Some of the struggles they went through were issues such as race, sense of identity, religion, family, grief, and secrets. We’re going to analyze parallels and contradictions between their lives and provide examples and quotes.

Race was one of the biggest issues that both James and Ruth went through in their lives. James had always wondered why his mother was a different color than the rest of the family but whenever she would get asked a question she would answer the question without giving them the information they actually wanted by saying something like, “I do look like you. I’m your mother” (13), she said that when asked by James why she didn’t look like him or anyone else in the family. Throughout her entire life Ruth never cared about what religion someone was or what the color of their skin was; all she cared about was what they were like as a person. This is shown when she falls in love for the first time and it is a black man. Even though Ruth knew her family wouldn’t approve of that she dated him anyways because he treated her nicely and he didn’t judge her. James never really had racism directed at him personally in the book but he was always conflicted with which side to take. As a child he believed that the Black Panthers were out to get his mom and that they were going to kill her. He was conflicted because all of his peers and neighbors seemed to support the Black Panthers but he thought that he couldn’t because he wanted his mother to be safe....
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