Growing up in a small town full of white people I never felt different until I enter grade six. I started to realize I was so different from the majority of my classmate except some small percentage of kids that looked like me. I remember the first time I felt different and it was when a kid asked me why I had a towel in my head. How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston shares about how she never felt different until she was sent to a school in Jacksonville, a white community. This essay dealt with a time period after slavery was abolished, but discrimination and segregation were still present in people’s minds. As a colored writer, she was a credible source to share about racial barriers to sympathetic reader who want to embrace their differences. Through humor, anecdote, metaphor, and imagery. Hurston addresses her personal experiences as a Negro.
Hurston begins her essay by telling stories of her childhood in Eatonville, Florida. People of color mostly populated Eatonville and when Hurston mother died, she was sent to a boarding school in Jacksonville where she felt color. She remembers how white people liked to hear her ‘speak pieces’ and sing. As they rode through town. They wanted to see her dance the parse-me-la and paid her generously for it. This anecdote from the author gives the reader an understanding of Hurston’s perspective. She does not just inform us by using anecdote. Hurston effectively allows the audience to empathize with her youthful innocence.
Jacksonville shifted Hurston’s perspective: however, she still did not feel tragically colored. One of the appeals she uses in this passage is pathos. She did not weep at the world. Discrimination simply astonished her; she asked herself, How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company! It’s beyond me. Hurston used humor to emphasize her refusal to let discrimination and her differences make her insecure. Hurston makes this point clear by humorous exaggeration of her feelings.
Furthermore, Hurston delivers imagery throughout the passage by demonstrating the uses of feel and sense to lead to the finding of herself. She emphasizes on how she believes she is a part of America as a whole and not just simply a color. Hurston uses imagery to compare the culture of blacks between the white culture, which conveys that black culture is worth celebrating. Hurston takes the reader on a voyage that illustrates the finding of her self-identity.
Despite her feelings of pride, the author could not help feeling different, like she was thrown against a sharp white background. Occasionally, she realized that she was a brown bag of miscellany propped against a wall, in the company of other bags of different colors. Nevertheless, she comprehended the similarity of their contents. This description gives vivid imagery for the author’s thoughts. The author uses these metaphors to underscore her isolation, which makes her revelation even more meaningful: physical features may be diverging, but people share the same essence.
Hurston uses these rhetorical devices to add and further her opinion. It added another dimension to her writing by combining rationale, imagery, and motivation with perspective.
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