What was Ruth's reaction to racism in the community in "Summer of My German Soldier"?

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ruth faces racism in the community with a steadfast faith in God and a quiet, unshakable confidence in her own worth.  She has an inner pride that "keeps her from looking down at her shoes when talking with white people".  Some of the white women think she is "uppity" because of this, but, as Patty realizes, what bothers them is her unconquerable sense of dignity which cannot be penetrated (Ch.1). 

Ruth has a clear sense of what can be accomplished in the social climate of her times, and "what she jest ain't got the power to do" (Ch.21).  Her actions are tempered with prudence, and she manages to walk "that thinnest of lines between respectfuless and subservience" (Ch.12). Confident that she has "got nothing in this here world worth taking, and...nobody...is gonna kill me till the good Lord is willing", Ruth works tirelessly to improve conditions for herself and espeically those she loves in every way she can (Ch.5).  She saves her money so her son can get an education, only to find that he cannot finish his schooling because he is called to serve his country in the war (Ch.12), and she stands up to the director of the reformatory to protect Patty, even though she can do nothing about getting Patty released.  Ruth's reaction to racism reflects the way she lives her whole life - she forges on with dignity and strength, even though she knows that "mostly things don't get no better for old colored ladies (Ch.21).

Read the study guide:
Summer of My German Soldier

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question