How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston

“How It Feels To Be Colored Me” is an original writing from Zora Neale Hurston. The writing describes Zora Hurston’s own perception of her life and being colored. Zora begins by describing her life in the small all colored town of Eatonville, Florida. The town had no whites except for those that passed through. Most people didn’t acknowledge the whites that passed through but she was fond of them and enjoyed talking and preforming for them. She did not see the whites as different from her because of their skin color, she thought of everyone as equal.

She deems herself as “everybody’s Zora”, and felt as though she belonged to everyone; the blacks, whites, all parts of the town. She then describes having to leave Eatonville for Jacksonville when she turned thirteen, and was no longer a part of her town, but just another colored girl. She then begins to describe how she is not “tragically colored”, she embraces her skin color and does not see it as a disadvantage or a reminder of her ancestors slavery. Zora then describes her metaphor on life, she sees herself as a brown paper bag amongst other paper bags of a different color that are filled with random contents.

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If the contents were emptied from the insides of the bags and refilled not very much would change. She then ends her essay by stating that maybe the “Great Stuffer of Bags”, purposely made the bags and its contents that way on purpose. The “Great Stuffer of Bags”, I’m assuming is her metaphor for God. I greatly enjoyed this essay. I thought that her descriptive writing placed a detailed imagine in my head and I could see every scene that she described about her journey in life. I thought that her enthusiasm for embracing her life and her colored skin was inspiring.

To be able to take what some may think as a disadvantage in life, and turn it into a benefit is a great way to live in the world. I also enjoyed her metaphor of the bags filled with miscellaneous contents. Everyone is different, but when put together and mixed we are all one. The thesis of the essay I believe is the very first sentence of her essay, “I am colored but I offer nothing in the way of extenuating circumstances except the fact that I am the only Negro in the United States whose grandfather on the mother’s side was not an Indian chief. The first four words set the tone of the essay in the sense of yes she is colored but that’s not all that she is. The essay relates to the readings from “Everything’s an Argument”, in the sense of appealing to emotion and character. While the essay in not an argument, the writing still appeals to emotions, or pathos by making you feel what the author feels about her life and experiences she goes through by being colored. The essay also identifies with the character, or ethos by describing herself and appealing to the reader and allowing us to identify with her through her descriptive writing.

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How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston. (2017, Jan 22). Retrieved from