"The Color Of Water" by James McBride.

Essay by staplerkidJunior High, 9th gradeA, December 2005

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Key moments in James'--the main character--life are not only about himself. Most of the time, they are about his mom. In one chapter, chapter four, he feels his fear of black power towards his mother, in another, chapter fourteen, he finds out how important it is to be educated, and in yet another, chapter 18, he feels the dissimilarity of his old home in New York to his new home in Delaware. His fear of black power illustrates the moment when what is supposed to empower him in fact scares him. His learning of the importance for education shows how dedicated his mom is to making him into something and teaching him the right ways, as well as James' discovery of the importance of truly trying to do well, and not to do drugs and steal. His feeling of the dissimilarity shows that not everywhere and everyone is the same, and that when James goes to different places he will experience different situations.

Throughout the book, James displays his worry for his mom. He is afraid that people will misunderstand the situation with his black siblings and white mother, and he fears that black revolutionaries will try to hurt her only because she is white. When Richie, one of James' brothers, is teasing him by saying that James is adopted, James acknowledges a tugging thought inside his head... "Mommy refused to acknowledge her whiteness. Why she did so was not clear, but even my teachers seemed to know she was white and I wasn't. On open school nights, the question most often asked by my schoolteachers was: 'Is James adopted?'" (Page 23) This scene shows James' concern on the issue of him being Mommy's son. This issue nags at him so much that at first he believes Richie's story of...