April 17, 2006
McBride, The Color of Water (1996) -- Jerz: American Lit II (EL 267)"It was a devastating realization coming to grips with the fact that all your life you had never really known the person you loved the most" (266). But James McBride DID know his mother, at least the parts of her that counted, the parts of her that enabled her to raise 12 children with no money, and have those children flourish into adulthood. Even though they have their place, it was refreshing to not have to worry about "close readings" or symbolism or any of that and just let this family's story unfold through the loving eyes of James McBride.
Posted by BrendaChristeleit at April 17, 2006 3:24 PM
Brenda! How do you find the time to blog so much?!?!
Posted by: MattHampton at April 18, 2006 5:20 PM
I agree, sometimes it's nice to read for pleasure without literary criticism in mind.
I'm finding it more and more difficult to just read for pleasure now, though, because as soon as I notice a symbol or a theme in a book I want to analyze it out of pure instinct.
Posted by: ChrisU at April 20, 2006 2:01 AM
Brenda (and now that I'm medicated properly, I owe you a non-nutty comment), I looked at the comment and you are right about him knowing enough about his mom, but I wonder ...
As we've all described, in his deciphering of his mother, McBride also unscrambled how own notion of himself. It's probably no surprise he had so many decent jobs and he quit them all, maybe because he felt unsatisfied by them.
This book may be a bit cathartic for him too because in the course of writing this book about his mother and their family's life, he gets the chance to define his own world too. I'm sure there was more soul searching that even the book pointed out.
Posted by: Matt Hampton at April 22, 2006 11:46 PM
Welcome back Matt-I was starting to feel paranoid & look over my blogging shoulder because I could have sworn I heard footsteps...
Anywho-I forgot about all of James' jobs, and although I really don't want to read more into this than absolutely needed, maybe he did need to figure out who he was and what he wanted on several different levels (don't we all?), but he had it especially difficult because of a opaque notion growing up. I was really wondering about how the older siblings came to terms with a white Mommy in their Black Power days, but as was pointed out in class, it's not a part of James' story, or at least a part of what he wanted to tell. It's easy to be critical and it's easy to expect everything at once, but what difficult is to be understanding and patient. Lesson learned.
Posted by: Brenda Christeleit at April 23, 2006 8:35 AM