The Color of Water

Why would McBride feel lonely that night in the hotel? What transformation/realization occurred as the sun rose the next morning?

Chapter 22

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James's nocturnal experience, in which he walks to the river in the middle of the night and experiences the loneliness that he imagines his grandmother must have felt, is a poignant and deeply emotional moment in the book. It shows how, through the process of learning about his mother's history, he has become familiar with his grandmother's experience of isolation in America on a visceral, potent level. As an immigrant and outsider who couldn't speak the native language and lived in a small, Southern town with a husband who didn't love her, Mameh was entirely powerless. Her powerlessness can be likened to the experiences of other racial groups and ethnic minorities, who face similar difficulties in America. Some even say that the American Dream, for many, is merely a myth. However, while Hudis Shilsky may not have lived the Dream during her lifetime, she was able to "fly" in the end. By writing down his mother's (and grandmother's) story, James grants the long-suffering women immortality and a voice.