The Color of Water

Topics: Black people, Black Power / Pages: 57 (14220 words) / Published: Nov 18th, 2011
The Color of Water

Context
Plot Overview
Character List
Character Analysis
Themes, Motifs, and Symbols
Summary & Analysis
Chapters 1–3
Chapters 4–6
Chapters 7–9
Chapters 10–12
Chapters 13–15
Chapters 16–18
Chapters 19–21
Chapters 22–24
Chapter 25 and Epilogue
Important Quotations Explained
Key Facts
Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics
Quiz
Suggestions for Further Reading
How to Cite This SparkNote
The Color of Water
James McBride

Context

James McBride was born in 1957 to an African-American father and a Polish Jewish immigrant mother. McBride's biological father, Andrew Dennis McBride, died of lung cancer while his mother, Ruth McBride, was pregnant with James. Therefore James regarded his stepfather, Hunter Jordan, as "Daddy." James's mother eventually had twelve children, eight from her first marriage and four from her second. James grew up in New York City and Delaware.
While James was a bit young to fully understand the events of the 1960s, he experienced their impact through his older siblings. The Civil Rights and Black Power movements manifested themselves in his siblings' behavior, sometimes resulting in conflicts between his mother Ruth and her children. In questioning the authority of the white man, they came up against issues of their own identities as biracial members of society. Later, James struggled with the same issues that had plagued his siblings. When he finally confronted these issues, James discovered that in order to understand himself, he had to understand his mother's background.
Born in Poland in 1921, Ruth McBride arrived in the United States at the age of two. The family traveled around the United States for several years, and Ruth's father tried and failed to make a career as a rabbi. Ruth's family settled in Suffolk, Virginia, where they opened a general store. Ruth's character was formed by her life in the South of the 1920s and 1930s. Both black and Jewish people experienced hardships; she and

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