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(Course Hero, 2020)
Course Hero. "The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother Study Guide." May 1, 2020. Accessed June 2, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Color-of-Water-A-Black-Mans-Tribute-to-His-White-Mother/.
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The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother chronicles both James McBride's life growing up with his mother, Ruth, and Ruth's life as told in a series of interviews. Both James and Ruth serve as narrators in alternating chapters for most of the book, and their perspectives are first-person recollections.
The book is written principally in the past tense. The exceptions are lapses into the present tense when the narrator, James or Ruth, speaks about present opinions or situations at the time the book is being written.
The Color of Water is a reference to a conversation James has with his mother, Ruth, about racial identity and God. Ruth is white, and James is biracial, as are her 11 other children. Ruth tells her son that God is no color, that he is the color of water and therefore has nothing whatsoever to do with race.
This study guide for James McBride's The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.