What was life like for the family in Suffolk . What happened to Ruth as a child? How did James’ father change Ruth’s?
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You are actually asking a few questions here. You need to ask each one separately. I'll take your main one. Tateh was a harsh and uncompromising person. He was racist to the very costumers that kept him in business. He sexually abused Ruth as well as disowned her for marrying a black man. There really isn't anything good to say about this guy. Mameh (or Hudis Shilsky) was a gentle and good Jewish wife. She put up with her husband out of duty to her faith and tradition. I think she feared him as well. She was crippled and like Ruth longed to be free. Ruth was most fond of her mother.