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

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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 picked the blue bicycle from the streets of Brooklyn and brought it home with him. After his death, Ruth fondly rode it even though it was hideous and old fashioned in design. The features of the bicycle only brought more attention to Ruth in the neighborhood where she was already conspicuous for being the only white woman. She seemed oblivious to the amount of danger she exposed herself to just by riding that bicycle. James was embarrassed and disapproved but kept his sentiments to himself, unlike his sister Dotty who explicitly told her that she wished she would stop riding it. Though James did not understand it back then, it was Ruth’s way of grieving as he came to comprehend much later. She had been through a series of tragedies, the latest being Hunter’s death.

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The Color of Water

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