The Color of Water

Describe James’ house, the food, the cleanliness, the activity. List James’ siblings and write a brief description of each.

chapter eight

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Ruth's household was, according to James, "orchestrated chaos." He and his siblings forever frolicked with food, books, music, and pets, and the environment was much like a circus. The eldest brother, Dennis, held sway over all of the children, since he had been admitted to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, where he was also a civil rights activist. The second eldest of the sisters, Helen, a pretty, gentle, and talkative girl, who according to James, was the most artistic of the siblings, suddenly stopped going to church and quit school. She became a full-fledged hippie, and announced that "the white man's education is not for me." One night, as "the big kids" debated about revolution, Helen got in a fight with Rosetta, the eldest of the sisters, and the smartest of all of them. In the end, Helen left the house, saying she was sick of it. When their mother came home in the night, she worried intensely about her 15-year-old daughter. She soon learned that Helen had gone to Jacqueline's house, and sent Richie to go and talk to her. When he came back, he said Helen wasn't coming home, and, after a time, she disappeared from Jack's. Eventually, they traced her to a crazy woman's apartment, and their mother went to go talk to her directly, to no avail.