The Color of Water Chapters 21-25 Study Guide Part I: Plot Questions

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Ms. Iacullo and Mrs. Roter

English 4 CP


The Color of Water Chapters 21-25 Study Guide


Part I: Plot Questions

Directions: Answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Include textual support where necessary. These will be checked!!!!


Chapter 21 – “A Bird Who Flies” (Answer FOUR questions)

1. How did Rachel and Mameh learn that Bubeh (Mameh’s mother) had died?

2. How do Mrs. Shilsky and Dee-Dee react when Rachel leaves for New York? How does Mr. Shilsky react?

3. What encounter does Rachel have at the bus station?

4. What parting gift had Mameh put in Rachel’s bag lunch? What was the significance of the gift?

5. How does Rachel learn that she has been cut off from her family?

6. What causes Ruth to go into an emotional collapse?

7. How did the relationship between Dennis and Ruth become stronger in this period of Ruth’s depression?

8. Why might Mameh have been fond of the birds she fed?
Chapter 22 – “A Jew Discovered” (Answer THREE questions)

1. Why did James return to Suffolk in 1992?

2. Ten years earlier, James had been in Suffolk on the same quest and had met Aubrey Rubenstein. What had this encounter revealed?

3. What does James come to understand as a result of his welcome by Aubrey Rubenstein and the other Jews in Suffolk?

4. What does Aubrey Rubenstein send to Ruth?

5. What revelation does James have in Suffolk?

Chapter 23 – “Dennis” (Answer SIX questions)


Vocabulary

kaddish – the Jewish prayer mourning the death of a friend or family member
1. What incident illustrated the bond between Ruth and Dennis?

2. What three elements does Ruth say a marriage needs to survive?

3. What caused Ruth to pressure Dennis to get married?

4. How did Dennis’ family react to the marriage?

5. Describe the wedding between Ruth and Dennis.

6. When Dennis returned to North Carolina on visits, why did he not take Ruth?

7. How does Ruth describe the years she and Dennis lived in the one-room apartment in Harlem?

8. Where did they move next, and what were the attractions of their new apartment?

9. What calling did Dennis get, and how did he respond to the calling?

10. What event plunged the family into tragedy?

11. What sustained the family after Dennis died?

12. What kind of help did the family receive from Ruth’s relatives in New York?




Chapter 24 – “New Brown” (Answer TWO questions)

Vocabulary

verboten – German for forbidden

Bouncing Betty – a type of land mine used in Vietnam; it detonated when someone removed a foot from it, blowing up the victim when the danger seemed to have passed

1. In writing of the anniversary celebration of the New Brown Memorial Church, James sums up his immediate family’s history as follows: “The old-timers at New Brown used to say God honored Rev. McBride. The man died without a penny, yet his children grew up to graduate from college, to become doctors, professors, teachers, and professionals all. It was the work, they said, of none other than Jesus Christ Himself” (McBride 251). Explain what this quote means.

2. What mistakes did the new minister of the New Brown church make?

3. Why does the author compare his mother’s memory to a Bouncing Betty?

4. Recount Ruth’s speech at the church’s anniversary dinner.

Chapter 25 – “Finding Ruthie” (Answer FIVE questions)

Vocabulary

haute cuisine – French term meaning highly styled food, or by extension, the top of the line
1. This chapter contains a long discourse on the author’s coming to terms with his own identity and race. Summarize his outlook.

2. What is the author’s educational background, and what has he done professionally?

3. How does the author characterize the world of reporting?

4. What was his alternative to work as a reporter?

5. Why did the author want to write a book with his mother?

6. Describe Ruth’s life after her children grew up.

7. In August 1993, Ruth returned to Suffolk, Virginia, the town where she grew up. Describe this visit.

8. Why does the author list Ruth’s children and their education?

9. How does he describe his mother’s power now that her family is grown?

Part II: Vocabulary: Match each word with its correct definition.

1. macabre____

2. inclination____

3. vacillating____

4. modicum____

5. synergy____

6. carnage____

7. semblance____

8. labyrinth____

9. sage____

10. abyss____

a. a deep gulf or pit

b. a maze

c. a tendency toward doing something

d. a wise person

e. corpses

f. exchange; association

g. going back and forth

h. gruesome; horrific

i. small amount

j. trace, evidence

Part III: Reflection

The book contains two coming-of-age stories, that of the mother and that of the son. Which story did you find most compelling? Give your reasons.



Due Date of Parts I and II: ________________________________________


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