1. James starts the book at 14 years old because at that age there was a lot of internal and external conflicts around him. First of all his stepfather, Hunter Jordan had died from a stroke which was very hard on him because of how close he was to Hunter even though he was not his biological father. Also around this age of 14, James was going through an identity crises because of the difference in skin color to his mother. James was brought up by a white mother and a African American stepfather with brothers and sisters who were mix including himself. This really affected James in his self-confidence because he didn’t know where he belonged whether it was in the black community or the white community which is why he decided to begin a book about his family and where he grew up in as well as his mother, Ruth.
2. Ruth’s life was a very interesting but emotionally upsetting with how she grew up with her parents and later on when she lived on her own. The first most important events in Ruth’s life was when her father, who she called Tateh, sexually abused her at a very young age when she lived in Sullfolk, Virginia, This impacted Ruth’s self-confidence very much so because her father treated her with no love and kindness but instead treated her like she was nothing important to him. She really felt unloved and not worthy of him because of how Tateh treated her. The second most important even in her life was meeting Frances her first very close friend. Frances was very impactful in Ruth’s Life because she showed Ruth that is was okay to be Jewish in her town and that education is very important. Also another thing that Frances did to Ruth was begin Ruth’s journey toward going to church and begin a relationship with God.
The third most important even in Ruth’s life was when she met Peter who she met at her father’s work and later she became pregnant with his child. This was a very important moment in Ruth’s life because it was the first time she was a conflict on whether to stay with Peter who was African American or leave him because of his skin color and get an abortion. This was very tough for Ruth because Peter was her first love and also her father was against the African American community and did not like them at all because of their skin color. This event caused her to move to New York with her aunt and get the abortion which caused a lot of hurt and heartbreak in Ruth’s life. The last most important even in Ruth’s life was when she met her first husband, father of James, who went by the name of Andrew Dennis McBride.
He was also African American but he impacted her life more than anyone else she has met in her life. He brought her to church and caused her to be so involved with church and having a very strong relationship with God. He also was the man who created the church that James went to every Sunday with his other 11 brothers and sisters. In all Ruth’s life was very emotional journey with tons of many important events in her life.
3. The first most important event in James’s life was when he was placed in a school with all white kids. This really impacted James’s life because it began his questioning of where he belonged in the world and where he came from. The second most important event James’s life was when his stepfather died. This caused a lot of drama in his life which brought him to being involved in drugs and alcohol.
Third most important event in James’s life was when he witnessed chicken man getting stabbed and killed. This caused James’s to stop doing drugs and alcohol and do something with his life which was writing and music. The fourth most important even in James’s life was visiting the town where his mother grew up and seeing where she lived. 4. The first important man in Ruth’s life was her father. He caused a lot of hurt in her life and made her lose a lot of self-confidence with herself. Another important man in her life was Peter because he was her first love and was the first time she had been involved in the African American community which was a lot of conflict in her life.
Andrew Dennis was another important person in her life because he was her first husband and also it was the person who brought her up in the church life and worshiping god. He also the father to 8 of her children. The fourth important man in Ruth’s life was Hunter Jordan who loved her even after all the things she did in her life and accepted her. He also was the father to 4 of her children. The last important man in Ruth’s life was Rocky because the way he treated her allowed her to realize how she should be treated and to not be in the situation she was in even though she had such low self-confidence.