The Color of Water Thematic Essay

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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 to no matter who it may be. In this case, in Chapter 6, the author tells about his past experiences going to Church with his family, and recalling his mother’s true embrace of Christianity, her singing voice, the fact that she was the only white person there, and how odd and exaggerated Reverend Owen’s sermons were whenever going to Whosoever Baptist Church. One afternoon at Church, Ruth McBride was weeping after hearing her favorite songs, like “We’ve Come This Far by Faith” or “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. James McBride asks her mother why she cries in Church, and her response is that God makes her happy. He thinks about this a bit more and assumes that maybe God likes black people better, hence having her mother cry at Church. He then asks whether God was black or white. She responds saying that he is not black or white, but a spirit, leading into the main metaphor of the story, saying, “God is the color of water. Water doesn’t have a color.” The metaphor displays how God has no color, no race to him, and would accept anyone, no matter their race. This representative of how Ruth and James McBride were accepted as Christians solely, therefore avoiding any difficulties having to do with race, at least when speaking about it...
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