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The Color of Water
Transcript of The Color of Water
Tateh Hunter Jordan The Color of Water By James McBride Hudis Shilsky
Mameh -Was a traveling Rabbi, moving annually because he wasn't very good -Was in the Russian Army and snuck over the Polish border -Born 1896 in Dobryzn, Poland -Polio paralyzed her left side and she was sickly -Gentle and meek Ruth McBride Jordan Ruchel Dwajra Zylska
Rachel Deborah Shilsky -Born April 1, 1921 in Poland -Came to America on August 23, 1923 -Lived in so many places, traveling with her family: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts
-Settled down in Suffolk, Virginia
-Tateh made "shilsky's Grocery Store", and she was required to work there -Settled in Suffolk and started Shilsky's Grocery Store -He was arranged to marry Hudis, and used her as a meal ticket to America, but didn't love her -Ruth's first husband, father of her first 8 children, including James -Died unexpectedly of cancer on April 5, 1957 -A great Jewish wife and mother -Ruth's second husband, adds 4 more kids to the family -Died of a stroke -Had 3 children; Sam, Rachel, and Gladys known as Dee-Dee -They met at Ruth's aunt's leather factory -He was black and Ruth's family disapproved. They pretended she was dead, performing the proper mourning rituals -He taught Ruth about Christianity, which she converted to. Together, him and Ruth started the New Brown Memorial Baptist Church The Jewish Parents Childhood -Was terrified of Tateh and had low self esteem because he would molest her -Except for school, the children had to work all day in the store -Had no real friends because she was Jewish and she never had free time - except Frances. Adolescence - Her first boyfriend was a black boy named Peter when she was 15. It was a complete secret from everyone. He got her pregnant and Mameh was the only one who knew. Mameh sent her to New York to stay with her grandmother (Bubeh) over the summer. Her aunt Betsy took her to get an abortion. -She stayed in New York for a year, but the school there was harder so in order to graduate on time she returned for her senior year to Suffolk. -Immediately following graduation, Ruth moved back to New York First Independence In New York James McBride -worked in her Aunt's leather factory and lived with Bubeh - Worked for the New York City Housing Authority -Ruth was drawn to Harlem, and quit the factory to look for a job as a ticket clerk or usher. That didn't work because everyone thought she was a prostitute -Born September 11, 1957 -She got a job at a beauty salon because she had taken a beauty course. However, she didn't realize black hair was different than white hair and she mauled the hair on her first customer. She was fired. -She got a manicurist job. The manager Rocky started taking her out to lunch and treating her well, and got her her own room in the city. He was a pimp. She saw Dennis on the street and his disappointment convinced her to leave - he saved her from becoming a prostitute. -Struggled with race and identity growing up because his mother was white but him and his siblings and neighbors were all black -A gruff man with a good sense of humor, quiet, and neat -Graduated from Oberlin College and got a Master's degree in journalism form Columbia University -Became a journalist and saxophonist, composing musicals and eventually wrote The Color of Water about his mother Ruth and his relationship with her growing up. Quotes One afternoon on the way home from church I asked her whether God was black or white.... "God is the color of water. Water doesn't have a color." p.51 (James' narration) Format This book alternates from being narrated by James, the author, and his mother, Ruth, whom the book is really about. I’m dead. You want to talk about my family and here I been dead to them for fifty years. p. 1 (Ruth's narration)