Main Motive of Zora Neale Hurston’s Essay

In How It Feels to Be Colored Me, Zora Neale Hurston describes her feelings and experiences in the twenty’s century from the examples of her own life as colored person. I had to read her essay few times before I can understand all the metaphor’s that she used thru out her work. She starts her story with the fact that she is the only Negro that have no native Americans ancestors.

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Hurston grew up in a small solely colored town in Orange County Florida where she did not have to worry about her skin color. The only white people she has seen was the ones who passed thru the city going or coming from Orlando. No one cared for Southern whites they were closer socioeconomically to blacks because they rode dusty horses thru town, but Northern tourists were actually something else because they drove automobiles, so the only difference Hurston had seen there is the lower or upper class of people not the color.

Later in the story author moves to Jacksonville, Florida at the age of thirteen where she first saw diverse population. But she rejected to be tragically colored. She states that she doesn’t belong in the Negrohood school where the colored people feel down about the way society look at them, they hate the world and feel sorry about the fact that they black. Hurston sees herself different. She doesn’t mind being black, she proud of it. No, I do not weep at the world-I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife (Hurston 1289). She sees a big race difference when she goes to listen jazz with her white friend. Hurston experience something unbelievable when she listens to the music; her emotions are going up and down, she sees different colors of the music, she wants to dance, jump, scream and when she looks at her white friend, he calmly seats smoking his cigarette. He has only heard what I felt (Hurston 1291)

Hurston ends her story by using the metaphor of colored bags to describe people. She believes that persons skin color doesn’t justify certain thoughts, actions, emotions, or talents. As long as black people have the same opportunities as white people, they can obtain the same experiences and abilities. The main idea of the colored bags metaphor is to show us that we are all like bags; full of desires, disappointments, hopes, love and hate and so on. If we were to take everything out of those bags, the skin color wouldn’t matter anymore because all of us would be the same.

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