The Color of Water

For many immigrants, hard work is seen as the path to success and attainment of the American way of life. Compare and contrast Rabbi Shilsky and Aunt Mary in this framework.

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Both characters are rather unsympathetic. I imagine you mean Ruth's father by the rabbi. There is nothing positive about this guy. He has a hard time making it in America so he settles for this small store. I think he has so many issues of bitterness, hatred and self loathing that he fails to attain the "American Dream". Hard work was clouded by his emotional issues. Aunt Mary became quite wealthy, owning a leather factory. Although she gives Ruth a badly needed job, she is rather snobbish. Aunt Mary is very hard on her sister. I think there is a certain amount of family fidelity built into the idea of the "American Dream"; there is supposed to be happiness and love built somewhere in behind the money and nice house. Aunt Mary lacks these emotional qualities. She succeeds financially but is not a happy person.