How It Feels To Be Colored Me, By Zora Neale Hurston

1392 Words6 Pages
Tale of Two Zoras
In Zora Neale Hurston’s essay “How It Feels To Be Colored Me”, her racial identity varies based on her location. Towards the beginning of her life when Zora was in her own community she could be a lighthearted, carefree spirit. However, when she was forced to leave her community, Zora’s identity became linked to her race. In this essay I will demonstrate how Zora’s blackness is both a sanctuary and completely worthless.
In the all black community of Eatonville, Zora felt like members of her town saw her for who she was. There were no racial barriers in the community because of everyone’s shared culture and history. Growing up in her small community, she came to love it and she felt a strong tie to her hometown. She
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Zora couldn’t wrap her head around why when white people came through town, her people would hide. She says “The front porch might seem a daring place for the rest of the town, but it was a gallery seat for me” (Hurston 42). Because Zora is the lighthearted person she is, she was not content with just the porch seat, but she wanted to be on top of the gate-post for the whole world to see “Zora of Orange County” “(Hurston 43). She loved to watch the reaction of those who rode through her town once they saw her waving and greeting. She knew, “if one of my family happened to come to the front in time to see me, of course negotiations would be rudely broken off” (Hurston 42). This shows that young Zora’s personality was just too loud to ignore. She took pride in being the first to welcome the visitors to her state.
When Zora was sent away to Jacksonville, she could not be herself anymore because of the presence of white residents. Zora was sent to Jacksonville once she turned thirteen to go to a better school. She says that once she reached Jacksonville, “Zora was no more” (Hurston 42). Her new town of Jacksonville was only different in one way: there were white residents. This demonstrates that in a community with white people, Zora felt that white people could not see her past her blackness. Because she was a black female in a white town, white people labeled her as black. For the
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