According to James, Ruth’s behavior and beliefs were often contradictory. "White folks, she felt, were implicitly evil toward blacks, yet she forced us to go to white schools to get the best education. Blacks could be trusted more, but anything involving blacks was probably substandard... She was against welfare and never applied for it despite our need, but championed those who availed themselves of it."
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This is a thematic question. Please take the time to go through Gradesaver's themes for the novel, as the page has everything you need to answer the questions above. Pay particular attention to the themes of education, community. If you have any further, more specific questions, feel free to ask them here.