ZORA NEALE HURSTONS
“HOW IT FEELS TO BE COLORED ME”
By Kenneth Leslie
Zora Neale Hurston's adventurous story "How it Feels to Be Colored Me" explores the writer's pride in her individuality through precise dictation, careful details, and colorful words. Rather than writing an essay about racial inequality, Hurston develops a touching story that celebrates her being unique.
Zora Neale Hurston describes how she’s an individual through the sentence "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" (paragraph one). By using the word "only," Zora Neale Hurston divides herself from all the other blacks in America, implying that she’s a different person because of Indian blood not running through her veins. The fact that this is also the opening sentence of her entire story suggests that Zora Neale Hurston considers this to be important information for the people reading her story almost as if she is boasting. Zora Neale Hurston embraces herself by being an individual and is eager to show herself as being unique.
Because of this stories first sentence, it sets the pace for the whole writing. The reader will automatically realize that Zora Neale Hurston's attitude towards herself is positive unlike many stories written at the time by African Americans, which created intent to include complaints instead of praise. This detail about her lineage really reflects that although Zora Neale Hurston may be different, she does not consider it a disadvantage. Zora Neale Hurston further establishes being an individual in the third paragraph, where she writes, "It is clear that I was the first 'Welcome-to-our-state' Floridian, and I hope the Miami Chamber of Commerce will please take notice," when referring to how she greeted incoming visitors as they passed through her town.
Yet again, Zora Neale