The Color of Water

Andrew Dennis McBride Sr. Character Analysis

James McBride’s biological father and Ruth’s first husband. He had one daughter, Jack, from a previous relationship, and eight children by Ruth. He went by Dennis instead of Andrew. His parent’s only child, Dennis moved to New York to pursue a career in music. He played the violin well and could sing, but was unable to make any money. He settled for a job in Aunt Mary’s leather factory, which is how he met Ruth. A devoted Christian, Dennis studied for and received a divinity degree and became a preacher late in life. Together with Ruth he founded the New Brown Memorial Church in Red Hook.

Andrew Dennis McBride Sr. Quotes in The Color of Water

The The Color of Water quotes below are all either spoken by Andrew Dennis McBride Sr. or refer to Andrew Dennis McBride Sr. . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Race and Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead edition of The Color of Water published in 2006.
Chapter 21 Quotes

“I know you’re gonna marry a shvartse. You’re making a mistake.” That stopped me cold, because I didn’t know how he learned it. To this day I don’t know. He said, “If you marry a nigger, don’t ever come home again. Don’t come back.”
“I’ll always come to see Mameh.”
“Not if you marry a nigger you won’t,” he said. “Don’t come back.”

Related Characters: Ruth McBride-Jordan (speaker), Tateh / Fishel Shilsky (speaker), Andrew Dennis McBride Sr. , Mameh / Hudis Shilsky
Page Number: 215
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Chapter 23 Quotes

There was no turning back after my mother died. I stayed on the black side because that was the only place I could stay. The few problems I had with black folks were nothing compared to the grief white folks dished out. With whites it was no question. You weren’t accepted to be with a black man and that was that. They’d say forget it. Are you crazy? A nigger and you? No way. They called you white trash. That’s what they called me. Nowadays these mixed couples get on TV every other day complaining, “Oh, it’s hard for us.” They have cars and television and homes and they’re complaining. Jungle fever they call it, flapping their jaws and making the whole thing sound stupid. They didn’t have to run for their lives like we did.

Related Characters: Ruth McBride-Jordan (speaker), Andrew Dennis McBride Sr. , Mameh / Hudis Shilsky
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 24 Quotes

Sometimes without conscious realization, our thoughts, our faith, our interests are entered into the past…We talk about other times, other places, other persons, and lose our living hold on the present. Sometimes we think if we could just go back in time we would be happy. But anyone who attempts to reenter the past is sure to be disappointed. Anyone who has ever revisited the place of his birth after years of absence is shocked by the differences between the way the place actually is, and the way he has remembered it. He may walk along old familiar streets and roads, but he is a stranger in a strange land. He has thought of this place as home, but he finds he is no longer here even in spirit. He has gone onto a new and different life, and in thinking longingly of the past, he has been giving thought and interest to something that no longer really exists.

Related Characters: Andrew Dennis McBride Sr. (speaker), James McBride, Ruth McBride-Jordan , Mameh / Hudis Shilsky
Page Number: 250
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fu

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Andrew Dennis McBride Sr. Character Timeline in The Color of Water

The timeline below shows where the character Andrew Dennis McBride Sr. appears in The Color of Water. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Dad
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Otherness and Belonging Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
When Ruth married her first husband, Andrew McBride , her family sat shiva and acted as though she had died. In Jewish tradition... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Bicycle
Otherness and Belonging Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...around town helps Ruth grieve her second husband, whose death reminds her of first husband, Andrew McBride , who died when she was pregnant with James fourteen years earlier. Ruth is only... (full context)
Chapter 4: Black Power
Family Theme Icon
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
...he isn’t adopted. When he asks about his grandparents, she tells him about his father Andrew Dennis McBride ’s family, but not her own parents. When James presses Ruth about her family, assuming... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...upbringing as being defined by “a curious blend of Jewish-European and African-American distrust and paranoia.” Andrew Dennis McBride knew that not everyone would accept his mixed-race family, and so he taught his children... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...the Red Hook neighborhood and the New Brown Memorial Baptist Church (which she founded with Andrew McBride ), both of which are predominantly black, and which she continues to visit even in... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Old Testament
Otherness and Belonging Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...has low self-esteem, partially due to Tateh’s mistreatment of her. She credits her first husband, Andrew Dennis McBride , with teaching her about God, “who lifted me up and forgave me and made... (full context)
Chapter 6: The New Testament
Religion Theme Icon
...but he barely ranks on her list of favorite ministers. These include her late husband Andrew Dennis McBride , among others who, James notes, are all black and “quite dead.” Ruth likes old-fashioned... (full context)
Chapter 12: Daddy
Family Theme Icon
...although some of them are half siblings, and the younger ones especially, who don’t remember Andrew Dennis McBride , all call Hunter “Daddy.” James is so comfortable calling Hunter is father that, for... (full context)
Chapter 14: Chicken Man
Family Theme Icon
...works. Eventually, Ruth sends James to spend the summer in Kentucky with his sister Jack, Andrew Dennis McBride ’s daughter from a previous marriage. (full context)
Chapter 17: Lost in Harlem
Otherness and Belonging Theme Icon
In 1939 Andrew Dennis McBride comes to work at Aunt Mary’s factory. He is kind to Ruth, and always takes... (full context)
Chapter 24: New Brown
Otherness and Belonging Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Andrew Dennis McBride left no money for his wife and children, but he did help create a set... (full context)