The Color of Water

why does ryth call herself dead

chapter 1 to 5

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After graduating from high school, Ruth moved to New York City and began working in her aunt's leather-goods factory. She returned to Suffolk when she learned that her mother was sick, but in the end refused to stay. Upon resuming her life in New York she fell in love, and in 1942 she married a black man named Andrew McBride. By the time Ruth learned that her mother had died, she had been disowned, considered to be "dead" by her Jewish family.


I think that Ruth lacked any sense of cultural identity. Not only was she seen as having to have forsaken her Jewish identity but she married a black man as well. This effectively kills her former identity in the eyes of her family and I suppose herself as well.