The Color of Water

by James McBride

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What contributes to Ruth's children's success in "The Color of Water"?

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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" (3), and "She insisted on...excellent school grades..." (20). A short time later he makes reference to his mother's "immigrant" values, including "a focus on excellence" and "a deep education (21). In Chapter 10, "School," her attitudes and beliefs about education are discussed at greater length.  She insists on being involved in every apect of the children's schooling and uses every avenue to ensure that they are placed in the best public schools.

There are, of course, other factors that contributed to the children's success, for example, hard work and a religious upbringing.  There are many references to each of these in the book, as well. 

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