The Water Dancer

by

Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Raymond White Character Analysis

Raymond White is an Underground agent who lives in Philadelphia. Born into slavery, both his parents escaped the plantation and ended up reuniting in Philadelphia. Raymond was separated from his brother, Otha, as a child, but they also reunite in Philadelphia and work as agents of the Underground together. Raymond is married and lives just outside the city with his family.
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Raymond White Character Timeline in The Water Dancer

The timeline below shows where the character Raymond White appears in The Water Dancer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 15
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
Humanity vs. Inhumanity Theme Icon
...two days. When they arrive in Philadelphia, a black man greets Hiram, introducing himself as Raymond White. They drive away in a carriage. Hiram looks at Raymond, whose dress is “impeccable”... (full context)
Stolen Skills, Power, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
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...waiting, drinking coffee with another black man who Hiram immediately sees must be related to Raymond. He introduces himself as Otha White. Hawkins instructs the White brothers to take care of... (full context)
Broken Families Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
Humanity vs. Inhumanity Theme Icon
...have dinner at a local tavern. Otha lives in the same house as Hiram, whereas Raymond lives with his wife and children. Hiram wakes early the next morning to wander around... (full context)
Chapter 16
Memory vs. Forgetting Theme Icon
Stolen Skills, Power, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
Humanity vs. Inhumanity Theme Icon
...time he conducts it leaves him exhausted. Back at the house, he finds Otha and Raymond, who summon him to accompany them. Walking through the city streets, Raymond says that the... (full context)
Broken Families Theme Icon
Stolen Skills, Power, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
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...one arm by a tall white man and on the other by a young boy. Raymond approaches her, addressing her as Mary Bronson and saying that he knows she’s “made a... (full context)
Memory vs. Forgetting Theme Icon
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Stolen Skills, Power, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
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The white man tells Raymond that if he was home he would “break [him] good.” Triumphantly, Raymond reminds him that... (full context)
Memory vs. Forgetting Theme Icon
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...he experiences a vivid memory of Rose, and when he returns back to the present, Raymond and Otha’s mother, Viola, tells him he looks like he’s “seen the devil himself.” (full context)
Broken Families Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
Humanity vs. Inhumanity Theme Icon
...his parents managed to escape separately and then reunite in the North. In addition to Raymond and Lambert, he has one sister, Patsy. The first time Viola escaped, she, Otha, and... (full context)
Memory vs. Forgetting Theme Icon
Broken Families Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
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...flee and came to Philadelphia in search of his family. When he was reunited with Raymond, they didn’t even recognize each other. It took time for them to discover that they... (full context)
Chapter 17
Broken Families Theme Icon
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The next morning, Raymond notes that although he trusts Bland deeply, he doesn’t approve of his vengeful murders of... (full context)
Chapter 18
Memory vs. Forgetting Theme Icon
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Stolen Skills, Power, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
Humanity vs. Inhumanity Theme Icon
...life there with him. Two weeks after his kidnapping and rescue, he goes to meet Raymond, who is alone at his home. Raymond shows Hiram two crates of documents, including intelligence... (full context)
Memory vs. Forgetting Theme Icon
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Stolen Skills, Power, and Knowledge Theme Icon
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Raymond says that someone needs to help Bland get to Alabama in good time, but the... (full context)
Chapter 19
Broken Families Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
Humanity vs. Inhumanity Theme Icon
...be able to properly understand—and gain control over—Conduction. The next day, he, Bland, Otha, and Raymond discuss the preparations for Lydia’s rescue. Bland explains that they need extremely precise passes for... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Humanity vs. Inhumanity Theme Icon
While waiting for updates on the mission, Raymond, Otha, and Hiram set off for the big meeting of abolitionists in New York. This... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Stolen Skills, Power, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
...of “commotion.” Otha is in a state of extreme distress. Hiram finds him wailing into Raymond’s shoulder, hardly able to stay standing. He announces that Bland is dead, and Lydia is... (full context)
Broken Families Theme Icon
Humanity vs. Inhumanity Theme Icon
...from an Indiana-based Underground agent confirming the sad news. Hiram takes the papers back to Raymond, who is now sitting near Harriet and Corrine. Hiram rests for a while, and when... (full context)
Chapter 22
Memory vs. Forgetting Theme Icon
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...senses that Kessiah is the older sister he always needed. Hiram then goes to see Raymond and Otha, who are talking with Corrine, Hawkins, and Amy. Everyone is tenderly embracing Otha... (full context)
Chapter 26
Broken Families Theme Icon
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...advised to stay inside, as there will be Hounds prowling the city looking for them. Raymond hands Hiram a letter from the Virginia station while saying that Hiram no longer owes... (full context)
Broken Families Theme Icon
Water, Movement, and Freedom Theme Icon
...Kessiah and Harriet stick close together. The next day, Hiram wakes up to find Otha, Raymond, and Kessiah talking excitedly at the table. Otha explains that they think they’ve found a... (full context)
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...called The Kidnapped and the Ransomed, which contains the story of Otha’s flight from slavery. Raymond says that Otha and some others will sell the book around the North, raising money... (full context)