The Color of Water Comprehension Questions

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Chapters 1-3
1.Analyze why Ruth begins her narrative with “I’m dead.” Ruth begins her narrative with “I’m dead” because technically, she is dead to her family. They do not care for her anymore now that she has “betrayed” them. Later in the book, Ruth recalls, “When Jews say kaddish, they’re not responsible for you anymore. You’re dead to them. Saying kaddish and sitting shiva, that absolves them of any responsibility for you.” Ruth basically wants to let her readers know at the beginning that her family is not important to her and not part of her anymore. This helps us to better understand her point of view during the story. 2.Examine James’ depiction of his mother.

James depicts his mother as a “strange middle-aged white lady with black hair, dark eyes, a large nose, a sparkling smile, and a bowlegged walk you could see a mile off.” He and his siblings would call her walk “Mommy’s mad walk.” James describes her non awareness of what the world thought of her and how she would ignore any matters involving race or identity. She is a strong and confident woman who always defended her children. Although, Ruth did not display love the typical way a mother would to her child. She treated the children as if she were getting a baseball team ready. 3.Contrast the reality of James’ home life with his “dream.” Does this dream exist for anyone? James’ home life is the polar opposite of what he dreams his home life could be. James recalls wishing he were in the TV show “Father Knows Best.” The show tells of the ideal American household, with a well dressed father coming home from work every day to greet his perfect family. On the other hand, James’ stepfather would come home only on weekends, busy and distracted. He and his siblings would walk around with giant holes in their pants and the cheapest pair of shoes on the market. It seems that James’ dream, the perfect life, does not exist for anyone; only in the television world. Chapters 4-5

4.Examine James’ confusion...
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