Period 1 – Ms. Ruiz Toro
Literary Analysis Essay
How It Feels To Be Colored Me
How does it feel to be colored? In these more recent and modern times, the thought probably doesn’t occur in most African Americans’ heads. However, in her 1928 essay, Zora Neale Hurston gives a vivid firsthand experience. In this piece, Hurston describes life growing up African-American not only in her community of Eatonville, Florida as a child, but also as she moved to Jacksonville to attend school in her teenage years, and as she became an adult living in New York City. Hurston explains to us through this passage that even though she is aware of her skin color, she does not let this hinder her attempts at getting ahead in life, and becoming successful in all that she does.
In the first few paragraphs of Hurston’s essay, she depicts an easygoing first 13 years of life. She remembers watching white travelers pass through her small town, and how she would welcome them with a bright, cheery smile. She talks about the white folk even giving her pocket change when she made them laugh, or followed them a distance alongside their horses. More importantly, she notes that in her younger years she felt no different while in the presence of a white person, and the only notable difference they shared was that they did not live in the same town. Hurston lived in an exclusively colored area growing up. To her, the Caucasian strangers were merely occasional pass-byers. Before she realized that race played such an enormous factor in the real world, as a child, she saw no superiority in the White man. Everybody was one people.
As the piece progresses, Hurston moves to Jacksonville, Florida to continue her education. This is where she first starts to take into consideration the difference between colored and white people. Hurston claims that among the thousands of white persons she is now surrounded by, she feels like a “dark rock surged upon, over swept by a creamy sea.” She...