Questions and Answers for The Color of Water

The Color of Water

Ruth's Past in "The Color of Water" Why do you think Ruth was so elusive about her past?

Ruth's past was very painful to her, and she wanted to forget about it. She was born to a family of Orthodox Jews in Poland, but when she left Virginia to marry her husband, a Christian black man,...

Latest answer posted December 17, 2018 2:56 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Color of Water

How does Ruth accept her past at the end of The Color of Water?

In The Color of Water, Ruth McBride-Jordan escapes from an abusive background by changing her culture, her religion, and even, as far as possible, her race. Her family was Jewish, and her father...

Latest answer posted November 24, 2020 8:45 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What is the major conflict in The Color Of Water by James McBride?

The major conflict in The Color of Water has to do with racism in America and how it affects all the characters as they attempt to go about their lives. James McBride's book is about the life of...

Latest answer posted September 24, 2019 3:31 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Color of Water

What is the general topic (theme) of The Color of Water?

I assume by "topic" you mean theme--in other words, what is the primary message or focus of this book. The Color of Water by James McBride is one man's journey to discover how, exactly, he fits...

Latest answer posted August 12, 2011 8:26 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What is the author's purpose in The Color of Water?

The author's purpose in writing this novel is to explore and connect with his own sense of identity. This book is a tribute to the author's mother, but in being that, it is also an autobiography....

Latest answer posted August 21, 2019 3:34 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Color of Water

How is James McBride's use of imagery important to his novel The Color of Water?

The Color of Water, by James McBride, is the story of McBride's journey to learn who he is by discovering the places from which he came. That does not seem like a particularly difficult task except...

Latest answer posted August 16, 2013 3:46 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What did the kids eat for dinner in The Color of Water?

The kids ate the food that their mother brought home from her job at Chase Manhattan Bank. The author's mother, Ruth, works as a typist at Chase Manhattan Bank; she works on a swing shift, which...

Latest answer posted May 23, 2019 6:04 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Color of Water

What does McBride learn from Eddie Thompson in chapter 20 of The Color of Water?

Chapter 20 of James McBride's book The Color of Water is an account of his journey to discover his mother's past. To do so, he must journey back to the place she left her family, Suffolk, Virginia....

Latest answer posted May 1, 2011 8:37 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

Explain how the theme of self-identity is developed in The Color of Water.

Author James McBride explores the intersecting roles of race, family, and community in The Color of Water, his memoir of growing up in a biracial family. As this is his memoir, self-identity is...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2018 5:48 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Color of Water

In The Color of Water by James McBride, how does James's perception of himself change from the beginning of the book...

Throughout the novel, The Color of Water, James McBride searches for his identity as a black child who is raised by his white mother. Ever since he was a child, McBride was confused about who he...

Latest answer posted September 7, 2018 9:07 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Color of Water

What kind of diction dominates McBride's work The Color of Water?

McBride's The Color of Water is actually dominated by two separate types of diction, as it is written from the point of view of two separate characters, interchanging based on odd and even...

Latest answer posted August 13, 2019 8:48 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Color of Water

Explain what James means in the book when he tells readers "I felt like a tinker toy kid building my own self out of...

Are you referring to The Color of Water, by James McBride? If so, The full quote is: "...I felt like a tinkertoy kid building my own self out of one of those toy building sets; for as she laid her...

Latest answer posted April 23, 2010 1:22 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

How many children are there in James’s family in The Color of Water?

James McBride describes his large and unique family and upbringing in his memoir/autobiography, The Color of Water. There were twelve children in the household, including him. He was the youngest...

Latest answer posted August 31, 2018 8:35 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

In "The Color of Water", what does the imaginary boy in the mirror represent in childhood and adulthood?

In childhood, the boy represents everything that James cannot be or have. “I created an imaginary world for myself. I believed my true self was a boy who lived in the mirror. I’d lock myself in...

Latest answer posted June 25, 2009 5:58 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

Who is Rocky in "The Color of Water" and what did he train Ruth for?

In The Color of Water, Rocky is the manager of the Hi Hat Barbershop. He is described as a heavy-set, light-skinned man in his fifties. The author also describes Rocky as being a well-dressed man....

Latest answer posted February 20, 2019 2:08 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Color of Water

What is the author's style in The Color of Water by James McBride?

The author of The Color of Water, James McBride, uses two very distinct styles in order to convey the different points of view and backgrounds of he and his mother in his memoir/autobiography. For...

Latest answer posted August 31, 2018 8:20 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Color of Water

In "The Color of Water", why did Ruth send her black children to Jewish public school? Why did Ruth send her black...

First, let's talk about your question. There are no Jewish public schools in the United States. If a school is Jewish, it must be a private school. If you are talking about a public school with a...

Latest answer posted April 14, 2009 12:56 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

How does James sees his mother in the beginning of the book? How does his view about his mother change throughout the...

In The Color of Water, James McBride goes through several phases of emotional connection to his mother and how she presents herself to the world. When he first becomes aware of how different she...

Latest answer posted March 25, 2019 6:03 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What is the setting of the book The Color of Water by James McBride? Throughout the book, the setting, where and when...

This is a difficult question to answer simply because it is a multi-generational story which covers lots of time and places. The Color of Water was written by James McBride, and it is an...

Latest answer posted August 14, 2011 2:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What effect does Tateh have on Ruth Shilsky in The Color of Water by James McBride?

James McBride's memoir, The Color of Water, weaves together with alternating segments the story of his mother's life and the story of his and his sibling's lives. The segments about his mother,...

Latest answer posted July 2, 2016 4:15 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

Please explain a quote from The Color of Water, by James McBride, which shows the characterization in the novel.

The Color of Water was written by James McBride and tells both his story and his mother's in alternating chapters. Each of them is on a journey. McBride's is a journey from boyhood to adult in...

Latest answer posted August 16, 2013 3:01 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

Where can I find quotes about finding one's identity in James McBride's The Color of Water?

The idea of learning how to find one's identity is quite personal, as every person travels a different journey. James McBride in his book The Color of Water searches for his identity both in...

Latest answer posted September 4, 2011 4:24 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What morals can be found in The Color of Water? with support

There are a number of possible morals to be drawn from The Color of Water. One of the most prevalent is the idea that people can overcome their circumstances or other people's prejudices against...

Latest answer posted December 31, 2010 8:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

Explain what James values in The Color of Water by James McBride.

James McBride's autobiography, The Color of Water, recounts his search for answers he did not get from his mother when he was growing up. Late in her life, his mother, Ruth, shares just a little of...

Latest answer posted July 1, 2013 10:02 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What was Ruth's home life like when she grew up in Suffolk, Va?

Ruth was born into an Orthodox Jewish family. Her father was a rabbi, and her mother, who was a victim of polio, was from a wealthy family. Ruth's parents' marriage was an arranged marriage, and...

Latest answer posted July 9, 2015 11:33 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

In The Color of Water, what two hobbies did Ruth take up when James was fourteen?

When James was fourteen, Ruth picked up two hobbies: playing the piano and riding a bicycle. The latter, however, is something James and his siblings frowned upon. Hunter, James’s stepfather, had...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2015 2:53 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

Explain the irony in the chapter title, “The Old Testament,” in The Color of Water by James McBride. 

The irony of chapter 5 being referred to as "The Old Testament" is, first and foremost, the many similarities it shares with the biblical text to which it is a reference. The chapter largely...

Latest answer posted February 11, 2020 8:41 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Color of Water

What is McBride's main argument in The Color of Water? I do not understand what it is. At first I thought about...

I think that McBride's main argument is closely tied to his title, and that while most would associate that title with race, McBride intends for his readers to realize--as he did--that in regards...

Latest answer posted April 25, 2010 6:25 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

How is this quote important to The Color of Water? "But there was a part of me that feared black power very deeply...

The quotation is important because it illustrates one of the book's main themes: how difficult it was for McBride to come to terms with his mixed racial heritage and forge his own identity. Though...

Latest answer posted June 27, 2019 8:52 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Color of Water

What does James compare his mother's singing to?  

James compared his mother's singing to a car trying to start, a Maytag washer, and the shrill voice of Curly from the Three Stooges. Ruth Jordan's singing was so bad and off-key that it actually...

Latest answer posted March 29, 2019 7:06 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Color of Water

What are Ruth's strengths and weaknesses as a mother  in The Color of Water?

In Color of Water, Ruth's strengths are her commitment to education, her ability to accept racial diversity, her refusal to adhere to religious dogma, and her persistent individualism in the face...

Latest answer posted April 4, 2010 10:22 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

In "The Color of Water", why do McBride's classmates want to see him dance? How does this affect him externally and...

James' classmates want to see him dance, because he does what they consider to be an amazing impression of James Brown. It affects him by changing his status in the classroom. His mixed heritage...

Latest answer posted August 11, 2009 3:38 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What legal paper did Ruth keep on her person for over 25 years in The Color of Water?  

The Color of Water is James McBride's autobiographical story. It is told in alternating chapters, first by his mother Ruth and then by James himself. The story is a result of the author's quest to...

Latest answer posted August 22, 2011 5:26 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

Why did Ruth Mc Bride refuse to reveal her past and why? no

The key to Ruth's concealment of her past is in the first chapter, where she says, "Rachel Shilsky is dead as far as I'm concerned. She had to die in order for me, the rest of me,to live" (McBride,...

Latest answer posted April 11, 2009 7:29 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What is a reason for Ruth's children's success in "The Color of Water"?

One major factor in the success of Ruth's children was education. McBride makes many references to this in the book. For example, he says she was "forcing us into college through sheer willpower"...

Latest answer posted May 11, 2009 2:09 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

How do other characters perceive James in The Color of Water by James McBride; cite quotations from the book to...

The Color of Water by James McBride is both the autobiographical story of James's search for his heritage and his mother's memoirs of growing up a white, Jewish girl in an abusive family. It is...

Latest answer posted July 1, 2013 8:57 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What types of things did James Mcbride inherit from his mother, Ruth Mcbride?

James inherits his intellect, his committment to education as a form of self-empowerment, and his revolutionary philosophy of race through a spiritualized lense. When McBride honors his mother's...

Latest answer posted November 11, 2008 3:51 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What causes the collapse of Ruth's parents' relationship in The Color of Water? Just as Ruth's relationship with...

Ruth's parents' relationship is collapsing because her father is having an affair. Ruth is living with Dennis when her father tells her that her mother is sick and they need help with the store....

Latest answer posted June 25, 2009 10:20 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

In the color of water: Should Ruth have tried to get an education earlier in her life?

Hello, Student90, There is a quick and easy answer to this question, since everyone should get an education as soon as possible, but as you know from reading the book, there is no way that Ruth...

Latest answer posted March 6, 2010 6:54 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

How does James McBride learn to come to terms with who he is as a person in The Color of Water?

It would not be a stretch to say that the entirety of The Color of Water is an effort on the part of McBride to come to terms with his racial identity, as well as the highly unusual circumstances...

Latest answer posted January 2, 2020 7:46 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Color of Water

What is Ruth's conflict in The Color of Water?

Because eNotes allows only one question per post, your other questions were edited out. James McBride's story The Color of Water relates his journey, partway through his life, to discover who he is...

Latest answer posted November 10, 2011 9:12 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

In "The Color of Water", how do you think that keeping secrets influenced Ruth as a whole? Ruth has had to...

Ruth's secrets about her youth obviously made her lack self-esteem. Her father's abuse probably had some effect on her pregnancy as a teenager. She was on her way to becoming a prostitute when whe...

Latest answer posted October 29, 2008 11:03 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

It could be argued that both Tateh and Ruth run their households in a tyrannical manner. Why does Ruth succeed and...

The Color of Water is a memoir by American writer James McBride. The autobiography focuses on the life of his mother, Ruth, as well as James McBride's close relationship with her. Ruth was a white...

Latest answer posted April 8, 2019 5:10 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

Why was Rachel embarrassed by her mother?  

James McBride begins his book by sharing the history of his parents with us. His mother was named Ruchel Dwajra Zylska when she was born in Poland on April 1, 1921. When her parents came to...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2016 8:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

In The Color of Water by James McBride, what is especially unique about James' experience growing up?

James McBride writes his autobiography in The Color of Water, and in it he chronicles his search for his mother's heritage. James is one of twelve children, and his father dies before James is...

Latest answer posted July 1, 2013 9:25 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

In the novel The Color of Water by James McBride, what does James's mother value?

James McBride's The Color of Water is openly defined as "a Black man's tribute to his white mother." As a white, Jewish woman, his mother, Ruth, chooses to marry a black man in 1942. This took...

Latest answer posted May 6, 2019 10:12 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Color of Water

Name Rachel’s aunts that are on her mother’s side. What are they like?

The Color of Water is author James McBride’s tribute to and remembrance of his mother. The subtitle of the book is, A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother. As a small child, whenever the author...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2020 10:35 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What general aspects of society did James McBride indirectly criticize or challenge in The Color of Water?

In The Color of Water, James McBride examines racism, indoctrination, and abuse in society, as well as the politics of identity. A memoir and homage to his mother, The Color of Water addresses both...

Latest answer posted July 18, 2019 8:23 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

What is the argument in Chapter 2 of The Color of Water?

The argument in chapter two occurs between James and his mother. He inquired why she neither resembled him nor the other children’s mothers. Even though Ruth firmly responded assuring James that...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2015 8:16 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Color of Water

"The Color of Water": Family and Family Values?  What do you feel James Mc Bride is arguing for in "The Color...

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...

Latest answer posted May 1, 2011 2:33 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Showing 1-50 of 99