Social Conflicts in The Color of Water

*This was one of my summer reading essays*

Throughout history, discrimination has been a continuous controversy. Society has proven not to be colorblind. In fact, looking through history books, there is countless evidence that society not only notices the difference of colors, but has tried relentlessly to separate them. It is well known that society teaches that people of one race are superior to those of another, even after centuries of social progress. Because of this truth, it is not a surprise that society has trouble accepting the idea of interracial marriage. Despite its progress in understanding that relationships should be based on love rather than race, society is continuing to understand this concept.

Throughout the 1600’s, interracial marriage was a topic of debate. During this time, Virginia had a massive role in the events regarding interracial marriage. In 1664, Maryland passed the first law to ban relationships between slaves and Caucasians. This law caused an outbreak of other state laws. In 1691, The Common Wealth of Virginia tried to inflict the death penalty: “Be it enacted by the authoritie aforesaid…effectuall execution” (Indiana University, Virginia laws of servitude and slavery). Because of the popularity of this law, The Common Wealth of Virginia expanded the policy to impose fines on the priest that allow interracial marriages. This hatred continued until a Supreme Court case questioned these beliefs. The Loving VS Virginia case fought against the laws abolishing marriage between races. By using the 14th Amendment, the Lovings won (Encyclopedia Virginia, Loving V. Virginia). After that, The United States repealed their laws against interracial marriage. Despite the laws being erased, hatred toward mixed-race relationships still existed. In fact, there are still doubts relating to mixed relationships in present society (Thoughtco, Interracial Marriage Laws History & Timeline).

In The Color of Water by James McBride, the topic of interracial marriage is exposed to its readers. McBride explains this social conflict through all points of view. From a white woman, to the reaction of her peers, and the effect of the criticism on her son, McBride looks deeper into the situation. The book shows the hardships faced involving mixed relationships. Despite the setting occurring after the laws were abolished, it showed society’s hostility toward the relationships. An example of this statement is when Ruth, the mother of McBride, is shunned by her family because she is in a romantic relationship with a black man. This example shows how strong the prejudice ideals were during this time period. McBride emphasizes the struggles regarding Ruth’s relationships to express that even though the laws prohibiting interracial marriage were disregarded, hatred for the relationships stayed stagnant. McBride uses this topic to allow readers to question the “progress” of social change.

Overall, the author uses Ruth’s story to enlighten others that social justice is still needed. Though the laws are gone, the hatred still thrives in society. McBride effectively portrays the struggles interracial couples faced after Loving VS Virginia to educate readers on how society’s beliefs remained prejudice.

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Book Discussion: The Sunflower​ by Simon Wiesenthal

*THIS WAS A SUMMER READING ESSAY*

Literature is often used to express moral issues. Through stories, audiences have the ability to reflect on their ethics and values. In The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal, the main character is faced with an important internal conflict: should he forgive a Nazi for the mass murder of his religion?

Wiesenthal begins his book by telling the story of how he was brought to a dying Nazi’s bedside. He explains the hardships faced at the concentration camp to explain why forgiveness is hard to grant. By using harsh tones to describe the Nazis’ behavior, Wiesenthal reveals why the Nazi’s request causes an internal conflict. Ultimately, Wiesenthal decides, rather than forgiveness, to remain silent. Silence poses as a neutral response to the Nazi’s apology. The response leads to a question: was that the correct choice?

The second half of the novel is written by 53 writers of different backgrounds. Each person represented has a different belief system and values. Wiesenthal’s response to the Nazi allows for the other people to question what their decision would be. Each of the 53 writers states their beliefs on the subject and how they would have responded. Even though this story is focused on the Holocaust, the reflections of the 53 writers can be used in any situation. It is eventually shown that this project is not just about the Nazis but also forgiving people in general. Wiesenthal’s novel allows readers to question their moral values.

Overall, the book is an insightful look at who readers are in a moral perspective. Readers reflect on how forgiving they are and it allows them to fully understand compassion.

Can Reading Help Solve Conflicts

For  the past few months, I have seen a lot of negativity in certain aspects of my life. I have noticed drama where I have been a bystander to various conflicts. Noticing these events, I have realized, that even though I am only seventeen, my ability to resolve conflicts is substantially better than some of my peers. The reasoning behind this, I believe, is that reading has taught me empathy.

One thing I have realized through these arguments is that the people refuse to understand other points of view. They believe that there can only be one person who is completely right instead on understanding that no one is every fully without fault. People rarely consider the actions of other people and their reasons behind them.

Through reading I have began to see people with more dimension. I understand that people’s ethics, thoughts, emotions, and even previous experiences contribute to how people act. Even by reading about the antagonists of stories, I began to understand that their actions have deeper meanings.

For example, in Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Warner is perceived as the antagonist for the first two books. Mafi initially expresses him harshly which results in the audience to view him negatively. Throughout the story, readers begin to learn about his life which explains his motives. By the end of the series, most of Shatter Me‘s fans prefer Warner rather than the actual protagonist.

Reading gives insight into how humans live. Readers are  enlightened with the concept that there is more to humans than their actions and reactions. Understanding feelings and ethics that people possess grants readers compassion. Reading about various lives expresses that we aren’t all the same-especially by how we feel and act.

Another thing that reading has helped me understand is that arguments are not one-dimensional. There are many factors that contribute into conflicts rather than the primary story. Sometimes, previous encounters or missed communication contribute more to a conflict than the actual reason. However, when more people get involved in an argument, it’s easier to focus on whose side to go toward rather than to understand that there is more to a story. Because people want support, they will recount their story to benefit themselves which allows bystanders, people who should never be involved in the first place, to engage in propaganda. Because people want to win their argument, despite whether the argument involves them, they will fight for their belief by speaking out which only creates a bigger argument.  In the end, the only thing we neglect is that there is always more to the story than what we perceive.

Through reading, the audience follows the plot where they see everything that contributes to the conflict. They get a deeper understanding of how the conflict is formed and resolved. The audience understands that there is never a single action that causes arguments but various factors.

Overall, I believe that humans refuse to acknowledge that other people are equally as flawed as them. Also, they refuse to acknowledge that actions are performed by feelings and motives which are typically not sinister. When people refuse to acknowledge these factors, arguments between a few people turn into wars with many people who should have never been involved.

EXCITING NEWS!!!!!!

For many of my followers that have been with me for a while, you may remember when I went to Baltimore to speak at Kidlitcon two years ago. In fact, I have an entire blog post about the experience I had at Kidlitcon.

Kidlitcon is a personal conference where people in the publishing industry gather together to discuss various writing topics. Attendees use the conference to meet others and promote their works. It is a fun and informational event. It broadens your connections and allows you to be surrounded by book lovers.

This year, I have another panel at Kidlitcon in Hershey, Pennsylvania! My panel is at 10:30 on November 3rd. The premise of my discussion is about building relationships with authors and publishers as a blogger. Here is the blurb for my panel: “It’s possible to be a blogger in isolation, but it is much more rewarding to be a blogger connected to the world of authors and publishing!  Join three experienced bloggers in a discussion of how to make and maintain those connections, and how to use those relationships to keep your blog energized and rewarding to both you and your readers”. It is going to be a very fun and interactive experience.

If you are interested in attending Kidlitcon, the convention is November 3rd and 4th at the Hershey Lodge in Pennsylvania. Hershey is an interesting part of Pennsylvania because it is home to the Hershey Chocolate Factory and amusement park! There is books, chocolate, and rides- there is nothing else you could want! Also, the Hershey Lodge, where the conference is held, is gorgeous!

The price of attending both days is $130. However if you buy it before October 15th, you can save $5! The tickets also include breakfast on Saturday, the reception on Friday, and lunch on both days. You can buy tickets here.

I hope all of you can make it and that I can see all of you!!

ARC Review: They Both Die In the End by Adam Silvera

Title: They Both Die in the End

Author: Adam Silvera

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Date of Publication: September 5, 2017

Publisher: HarperTeen

Description: On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.


I received They Both Die in the End at Bookcon after waiting over an hour at Adam Silvera’s book signing. Needless to say, it was worth the wait.

Adam is as great a writer as he is a person. Not only is he extremely talented, he makes his readers feel important to him. He is a high-quality writer AND person.

The story has a unique premise. It focuses on the “live as if you were dying” motto. The story begins with the characters receiving a call from a company called Deathcast. Ultimately, the company’s job is to inform ‘Deckers’, the stories term for people about to die, that their time on earth will be ending in less than a day. Because of this call, the characters are faced with an internal conflict: do they live out their final day or do they try to stay away from harm? Throughout the story, readers begin to reflect on this question as well. How would you live if you knew you were dying in less than twenty-four hours?

The world that Silvera builds is descriptive and thought out. Silvera explains Deathcast vividly to give readers an image of what it represents. Silvera, also, explains the world’s viewpoint on Deathcast and Deckers. He explains the perks that Deckers receive on their last day. These perks include simulators that give Deckers a safe alternative to experiencing life’s thrills and, more importantly, an app that allows you to find a friend who will help you live out your final day.

Not only does Silvera build the world in a flawless way, he creates the story effortlessly through characters. The story is told through more than just Mateo and Rufus’ point of view. It is also told by members of their families and other people they do not know that contribute to their story. Because of the various points of view, the story has more dimension.

My favorite character of the story was Mateo. Even though at times he was way too afraid of living out his final day (but, I mean, who wouldn’t be afraid when they are guaranteed death), he was the character who I felt more attached to. He truly cared for his dad and his friend. The story revolving around them was emotional and at times made me cry. He made the story has a deep impact on its readers.

My least favorite character was surprising Rufus. At first, I felt he was obsessive over his ex-girlfriend. He was too aggressive. In my opinion, he was not a great character. I did not feel any emotions toward that character.

Overall, it was an incredible story. It made me feel every emotion. I cried, I laughed, I just was an emotional mess. I highly recommend this story!