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Independent Reading Essay on the Color of Water

  • Date Submitted: 11/21/2010 04:02 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 73.3 
  • Words: 696
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There are many interesting characters in The Color of Water by James McBride. One of the most dynamic is the protagonists James, who is the narrator of the story, and Ruth, who tells her son of her past after many years. James changes and grows throughout this story. In the Beginning he is just a normal middle child of twelve, but as the story progresses and he learns more about his and his mother’s past he starts to discover who he is as a black man with a white mother. When James was younger he always noticed that his mother was different then the mothers of his friends. He hated his mother for not looking like him and his siblings in the beginning. But soon after learning about the past he starts seeing his mother in a new light. Not a white lady with twelve nappy haired black children, but as a woman who went through many hardships such as molestation by her father and a very restricted childhood. Ruth on the other hand does not change as much as James does; her one main change is that she allows herself to open up to her son after many years of lies and half-truths.
There are many different settings in this story. It begins Poland as Ruth, explains her pat and her journey to America. The story takes place in Suffolk, Virginia; New York City; Louisville, Kentucky; Oberlin, Ohio; Wilmington, Delaware. When the protagonist decides to learn about his mother’s past he travels to each place he has learned something new about his mother and her past. After learning each bit of information from each town James finds himself feeling closer to his mother than ever before.
I would describe the protagonist, James, as a very curious person. Even from early childhood he questioned everything. He questioned his mother about her past, her future, and even about God. He mostly questioned her about why she was white and he wasn’t. she blew of the questions saying things like she was just light skinned and God made her that way so don’t question it. The Tittle actually comes...


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