Generational Struggle In The Color Of Water

918 words - 4 pages

With the passing of each generation comes the creation or new moral and ethical values that change and shape the world with each second’s passing. With each tick comes new opinion which in turn creates even more new belief to change in a never-ending cycle. It is in this way that many individuals find themselves struggling with identity crisis and other concerns as they attempt to age and mature with the times. Politics, technology, media, and overall culture in general all serve as factors that lead to one’s identity making him or her a mix of their own beliefs and those of their generation. This is the struggle facing both James McBride and his mother in McBride’s novel, The Color of ...view middle of the document...

Whether it was her rebelliousness or just her inner beliefs making her act in such a way, Ruth soon found herself involved with a black man. McBride describes the seriousness of this act in stating “…they would’ve strung him up faster than you can blink if they’d have found out. Not just the Ku Klux Klan, but the regular white folks in the town would’ve killed him” (111). Great courage was shown by Ruth in allowing herself to press on in the relationship, and it forever changed her life resulting in her being sent away, and eventually having relations with other black men and granting her a family of twelve racially-mixed children.

Among these children was James McBride himself who felt an equally challenging set of generational beliefs working against him. McBride’s guidance came from his mother who did not provide the most stable of conclusions for him and his siblings. This is stated in: “Mommy’s contradictions crashed and slammed against one another like bumper cars at Coney Island. White folks, she felt, were implicitly evil toward blacks, yet she forced us to go to white schools to get the best education” (29). From a very early age James felt racial tensions just as his mother did, creating a very real sense of confusion within him. It is in this way that James was led to even further confusion and misguidance as the racial clashed of the decades of his youth, the 1960’s, and eventually lashed out causing much chaos amid his vandalism. The hatred of his age as well as the consequences of his actions are stated in the...

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