"The Color of Water": Family and Family Values?  What do you feel James Mc Bride is arguing for in "The Color of Water" about family and family values?  I've read the book, and I just can't think about what it could be. 

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This book is an account of one man's journey to find himself. It turns out that, in his case, he has to discover who his mother is before he can really find his own peace. While on that quest, he shares his life as well as his discoveries. In some ways, his family values are the same as most people's. For example, the fact that the children were not to share any information about the family with anyone "outside" is not particularly typical; however, being of mixed parentage at that time was likely to cause them grief and/or trouble, so it was probably a wise way for them to live.

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I think McBride is showing his readers that even if his "family" was very different than most, he still considers them a family. His brothers and sisters were certainly not poster children for a sterotypical "family", but they certainly loved and cared about one another. Although Ruth broke just about every expectation of what an ideal mother should be, McBride and the reader still are left with great admiration for her and the great strength she showed in dealing with life. James McBride makes a point that even if they didn't live in a perfectly kept house with a white picket fence, they were still successful as a family and he takes great pride in being part of that family.

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I do not believe that he is arguing for or against anything in the book.  One of McBride's motivations for writing the book was because he wanted to learn about his mother's history.  She did not like to talk about it, nor did she want to discuss the extreme difficulties she went through raising as many children as she did and losing two husbands prematurely.  She had a very rough go of it and sacrificed everything she had to make sure her children were raised well and taught good values and morals.  This did not prevent Mr. McBride from straying and getting involved in drugs and other unsavory activities, but he ultimately always came back to what his mother had taught him about working hard, going to college, and being true to himself.  

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