The Color Of Water Analysis

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The Color of Water tells an extraordinary story about a woman named Ruth McBride Jordan, the two compassionate men she married, and the twelve children she raised on her own after her husbands passed away. Jordan was born a Polish Jew who migrated to America soon after her birth. She left her family behind in Virginia to go to New York, where she married a black man who later died and left her to raise her twelve children alone in the Red Hook projects. Jordan’s family goes through many racial and religious conflicts in this story that affect them later in life. James McBride is especially confused about his racial, religious, and social identity because of his lack of knowledge about his mother’s past. He discovers the true meaning of family…show more content…
James goes through a stage of loss in a very early age in life. After his stepfather died, James soon fell into a phase of drug use and started to skip school. The way James dealt with loss was very different from the way his mother handled loss. Even though James’s mother lost both of her husbands and her mother, she stayed strong. She didn’t give up on life because she believed that God will help her along her journey. James’s way of dealing with loss to me seems to be more effective because he let go of the pain he felt, while Ruth kept all those emotions trapped inside of her and it seems to be eating away the inside of her each step of the way. She rides her bike to “escape” reality, but at the end of the day, her heart is still in pain. In my opinion, James handles his stress better than his mother because he is trying to do something about it. He tried to do drugs, but that didn’t get him any where because he is drifting farther away from his family by using that method of dealing with stress. He tried skipping school, but he realized he will have no future with the help of Chicken Man. Chicken Man made James realize he was no smarter than the other men on the streets. He used this knowledge to help him get through his loss and he continued on with his life. This method is way more efficient than the way his mother tried to deal with her stress because all she did was lock up her stress and keep it buried…show more content…
Why would she do that? That is the worst way to deal with loss because it will always be there until someone comes and digs it up. Ruth’s method of dealing with her loss, not only affected her life, but also her children’s life. She stirred confusion among the family because of her silence, but brought many more questions along the way. Her method has some good and bad sides about it. The good side is that she showed the kids that she was strong on the outside, but when she was alone she can’t control her sadness. The bad side is that she taught the kids to be isolated from the rest of the world. She is on the verge of breaking down, but her kids remind her that she is not alone. McBride states, “But while she weebled and wobbled and leaned, she did not fall.” (163) I think that Ruth should take the risk and fall once, so that she can recover and then get up again after she is all healed. By doing this she can refresh instead of dealing with this burden each step of the way. I understand that Ruth wants the best for her family, but sometimes you have to put yourself

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