The Color of Water

what does james learn about himself?

what does James learn about himself through finding out about his mother?

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James learns that many of his best traits come through because of his mother's struggle. James finds a new strength and resilience because of his mother that transcends issues of race. The irony is that while memoir-writing and the act of "remembering" constitute a journey back in time, what is found there generates a possible source of new strength. Crucial to any idea of the future, the remembered history becomes a part of a person's identity, adds depth to the experience of living, and serves as a link between the present and the future. While James may not have the kind of "vision" that Ruth admires, he has the kind that is, perhaps, the necessary starting place for any fresh imagining of the future.