The novel is about a boy who is trying to understand his mother's past and what it means to be a different race. James, the main character, grows up in a chaotic family, and tries to understand his mother's past. The reason behind this is because James doesn't understand why his mother is white and he isn't. Further in the book James turns to drugs and crime to cope with confusion of identity and his stepfather's death. In the end of the book James is admitted to college and remains close to his family.
Point of View
The setting took place mostly in two different locations; Sufflok, Virginia. and New York City
The main characters in this book were James and Ruth. The secondary characters were Dennis and Mama.
The point of view in the novel switches back and forth between James and Ruth. When the point of view was James', the font would be regular print and when the point of view was Ruth's, the font would be italicized.
The biggest symbol in the book is water. Water is the biggest symbol because it represents James understanding identity and what it means to be a different race (color). "'What color is God's spirit?' "It doesn't have a color,' she said. "God is the color of water. Water doesn't have a color."
The theme in The Color of Water is coming of age. Coming of age is shown throughout the book because it explains James' mindset as a young kid who was confused about identity and being different races. As the book progresses, so does James maturity and understanding of color.