What ways was Ruth victimized by her father?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tateh Shilsky had both aggressive and passive aggressive ways to victimize Ruth.  First, he was racist and judgmental. He hated black people and anyone who was not within a range of acceptance according to him. He told Ruth that if she married a black man it would be the end of her.

Second, he also sexually abused her. He was a very negative influence in the family and perhaps due to his own mental instability committed these atrocious acts against his daughter.

mkcapen1 | Student

In the book “The Color of Water” by James McBride, Ruth is the daughter of a rabbi.  The rabbi is named Tateh.  He is not a very successful rabbi.  He forces his family to move to the south where he has found work as a rabbi.  The area where they move has a lot of racial problems and prejudiced people. Tateh, knowing that he won’t be able to continue making a living as a rabbi, opens a grocery store whose patrons are mostly black.  He becomes very wealthy off the black people’s business in his store.

Ruth is abused by her father.  He verbally mocks and abuses her mother in front of her.  He also sexually abuses and verbally abuses Ruth.  Tateh is an unbearable demanding tyrant who controls Ruth’s life.  He forces her to work long hours in the grocery store. 

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The Color of Water

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