The amazing thing about good literature is that it has the capacity to move readers in a variety of ways. The Color of Water by James McBride is a story full of all kinds of dramatic moments which might qualify as poignant.
- When Ruth's second husband dies, she goes a little crazy. We see her, this crazy, wild-haired white woman, frenetically riding her bicycle around in her predominantly black neighborhood. Her grief is palpable.
- When James finally meets a man who knew his mother as a girl, James is moved. When the visit ends with a call to Ruth, the readers is moved.
- At the end of the story, when Ruth speaks at the anniversary celebrating the founding of her husband's church, the entire room is moved to tears.
There are plenty of other tragic moments, such as when Ruth finds out her mother is in the hospital--and then dies--without being able to see her. There are some times of joy and laughter, as well. With a question like this, you really cannot be wrong if you find something in the novel which touches you in some way; so find your own connecting moment and write about what is poignant to you.