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Identity In The Color Of Water

1192 words - 5 pages

At the very beginning of the book “The Color of Water”, one of the narrators Ruth told us she was “dead”. Indeed, Ruth was dead and completely missing her past since she determined to change her identity to relive her life. Why she wanted to do that? I thought the most important reason came from her family in Suffork. She was upset to her boring life and wanted to get rid of it —she got used to walk around store of her family all day; she was forbidden to pursue her true love by her father; she did not want to live in a family which was filled with so-called formalities but had no love. Eventually, she chose to leave her hometown and change her identity to pursue what she really wanted, to ...view middle of the document...

Different religion could teach people the different belief which was highly correlated with one’s value and outlook on world and life, like discipline, honor, a sense of pride and a sense of right and wrong. Karl Marx even called religion “the opiate of the people”.
Ruth was born in an Orthodox Jewish family, so there were many religious limitation and rules in her family. Ruth was even restricted in what she could eat and how she ate. “The way we did it, you had different table settings for every meal, different tablecloths, different dishes, forks, spoons, knives, everything. And you couldn’t mix your meals…No pork, either—no pork chops with potato salad, no bacon and eggs, forget all that”(McBride 17). Under this condition, Ruth was restricted physically and mentally either by her father or by religion. She had no hope to this world and there was no passion and creativity in her life because her belief was permeated by her religion. Her life would be foreordained to be trite but Ruth definitely was unsatisfied with it. It turned out that religion was a driving force for Ruth to change her identity. In 1942, Ruth determined to accept Jesus Christ into her life and join the church. She ruled out the Jew formalities and achieved the freedom from the Christian. “Instead of eating kosher, using different table settings for every meal and eating all meat or all dairy dishes, I just ate what I wanted, I tasted pork chops and loved them” (McBride 234). This was in sharp contrast to her past life in the Jewish family. Ruth would not be limited by the principles of Jew and she was happy to accept Jesus. She got freedom and be self-fulfilling from her new religion whose belief was supporting Ruth to pursue what she wanted and giving her courage to face the hard life strongly. This made her more confident and passive to her life.
The last but no least, I think the effect of different environment plays the most important role in changing Ruth’s identity. I thought the environment contributed to shaping one’s qualities which was an indispensable part of identity. Although natural environment was important, social environment was more crucial in shaping Ruth’s qualities. The most representative and vital social environment which helped Ruth to reshape her qualities was family. Researches have been proved that “parental attitudes...

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