How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Hurston

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Zora Hurston writes her How it feels to be colored me in a period between when racism had proven ruthless and oppressive in the United States (1891-1960). Despite having been raised in Eatonville which was an all-black town; Hurston was guarded against the consequences of racialist cruelties (1982). In this short story, Hurston gives an account of her autobiography since that very day she became colored. The author uses How it feels to be colored me as a platform to critically portray the expression of self-realization.

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According to Hurston, racism was so prominent in this period; white people were different from the colored only in that they rode through Eatonville but never lived there, as Hurston writes (1984). This shows her perception of the little difference between the white people and herself. However upon leaving Hurston, race became the basic aspect of her identity from a term that describes her identity with a vast concept describing her value and individuality to one that encompasses her race and gender.

Throughout the essay, a strain between her individuality and color is seen; as she fluctuates between identifying herself with her race and distancing herself as well. The stunning description which of the instance where her colored image comes depicts a sense of racial unity against the surging white background (1984). In some instance, she distances herself from the notion of her identity and at times replaced by cosmic Hurston who belongs to neither a race nor time. This is a fundamental pillar on the transformation from everybody Zora to a young colored girl existing beyond the human societies limitations.

Later on after making the realization that she is in reality a colored girl and of the consequences of her realization, Zora makes a plain distinction between the sobbing school of Negrohood and the realized new self of her (1984). Here a depiction of her ambition that carries both her past and present obstacles that face colored American in the course of their lives. With her open, ambitious and high spirited personality, Hurdson is able to join school and obtain the education where she explores the challenges and complexities which face the African Americans through her wide range of researches and writings.

In interpreting Hursons story, it I seen that much of her work is in autobiographical. All through her writing, the characters portray a strong sense of determination, courage and the will to achieve their objectives. They are interpreted as having similar characteristics as Hurston. She possesses high value of self-worth and appreciation of her African American people. How it feels to be colored me is just a piece describing such emotions (1985). She well recognizes the heritage of colored American heritage as an aspect that determines ones cultural identity. Having lived in a nation where color mattered, Hurston did not always consider herself colored rather most often she achieved the unconscious Eatonville Zora.

Hurston in the colored me portrays an important exploration of the tense relationship her identity and her race. She conveys ideas of the New Black in her demystification of primitive stereotypes and her perception of a modern, authoritative and confrontational voice of an African-American. However on the other hand she does not accept to be basically defined by this idea. Hurstons jubilation of her ever-changing and complex personality expresses her denial to be defined using any single aspect of her identity.


Hemenway, Robert E. Zora Neale Hurston. Urbana [Ill.]: University of Illinois Press, 1980. Print.

Hurston, Zora Neale. How It Feels To Be Colored Me. Print.

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