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"How It Feels to Be Colored Me" by Zora Neale Hurston

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Rachel Kye

on 28 January 2015

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Transcript of "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" by Zora Neale Hurston

In Zora Neale Hurston's essay "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" she uses various rhetorical strategies to show celebratory results from an individual's sole identity as an African American.
Rhetorical Devices
Imagery, analogy, metaphor, anecdote
Historical Context
Harlem Renaissance
"Great Migration" to North because Jim Crow Laws in South
Rebirth cultural pride

"How It Feels to Be Colored Me" by Zora Neale Hurston
by Rachel Kye & Kalli Segel
Figurative language used to appeal to senses
Cabaret Scene: "It constricts the thorax and splits the heart with its tempo and narcotic harmonies... My pulse is throbbing like a war drum" (Hurston 161).
Mixture of similes and metaphors create imagery that conveys sound and feelings of listening to music
Contrasts white man with culture of Blacks, showing that their culture is worth celebrating
Use something well known to explain something less well known
Simple argument to explain complex argument
Race analogy: "The terrible struggle that made me an American out of a potential slave said 'On the line!' The Reconstruction said 'Get set!'; and the generation before said 'Go!'
Uses idea of race to show that African Americans are progressing and should celebrate their deveopment
Speaks of something as though it is another thing
Helps reader to see something the way you want to see it
Helps convey emotional or psychological truth
Cabaret Scene: "This orchestra grows rambunctious, rears on its hind legs and attacks the tonal veil with primitive fury... I am the jungle and living in the jungle way."
Orchestra and music compared to tribal ritual, extolling Hurston's culture
Short story to demonstrate a point
Hurston's childhood: "I remember the day that I became colored... I was not Zora of Orange County anymore, I was now a little colored girl" (Hurston 158-159).
Uses story of her childhood to show her love of her culture and her recognition of her color
Claim- African Americans should celebrate their culture and look towards the future
Support- rhetorical devices
Warrant- inclination of African Americans to tragically retain their experiences as slaves
Brown Bag analogy: "I feel like a brown bag of miscellany propped against a wall. against a wall in the company of other bags, white, red, and yellow. (Hurston 162).
Image of a brown bag filled with items to show her thoughts- that everyone is same inside
Full transcript