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Zora Neale Hurston was an American folklorist and writer associated with the Harlem Renaissance that was born January 7, 1891, and died January 28, 1960, she was revolutionary in helping protect the rights of African Americans. She is known for ‘How it Feels to be Colored Me’ that was writing in 1927 exerts what it means to be a black person in a world that is mostly dominated by white people and how she discovers her identity and pride, she uses Metaphors and Imagery to help her argument.
In the beginning, she talks about how she grew up in an all-black town in Florida but never thought much of her race. While growing up there she would see white people come from out of town, but they were never rude or mean to her as a matter a fact she would welcome them into the town and perform but not because she wanted money she just enjoyed it. When she moved to Jacksonville at the age of thirteenth to attend school is when she realized she was colored, not because she didn’t know she was black but because people cared what skin color she was that never happened to her at her old town where she was never different. In the text she adds how she went from ‘Zora from Orange County’ to the little ‘colored girl’ this is a great example of pathos because of the emotional change she was going through, people would always remind her of her skin color and how she was the granddaughter of a slave, but she refused to be sad about something that happens a long time ago meaning that slavery was over and they were in a new era. She was most surprised and confused and now aware of her skin color and what comes along with it. After that, she uses a metaphor that helps the secondary claim of how she wasn’t going to let what other people say depress her which was about how the ‘operation was a success and the patient is doing well’. The operation meaning slavery and the patient meaning colored people which basically saying that slavery is done, and they are doing well so why are there still problems. In addition, Hurston uses Imagery when she talks about her feeling more colored when thrown against a sharp white background meaning when she is around many white people she feels different when she knows she shouldn’t they are all people just like her and the only difference is the skin.
Another example she uses would be when she was at Barnard that she attended from 1925-1928. ‘Besides the waters of the Hudson’she feels her race even if there are thousands of white people she is ‘a rock that is surged and overslept’ but she remains herself and nothing will change Which helps the imagery she was talking about nothing was going to change her skin or what she was, so she was going to be her. However, she has also seen it in reverse, towards the end of the reading she talks about an experience she encountered while going to college when she went to a nightclub with a white friend. As they entered the club the orchestra was playing wild jazz and Hurston began to dance wildly like if she was’ living in the jungle’ which is a simile to compare the way she was dancing to someone who is living in the jungle which is a place of the wild. When she turns to look at the white friend he is sitting down quietly just taping his fingers to the beat, he doesn’t have much emotion towards the music and doesn’t have the same effect as she does. She then notices quickly how different they are not a race but culture he wasn’t as into the music as she was because she grew up listening to that music and he didn’t feel what she felt when hearing the orchestra. She sees how different people are and how cultures are so far apart like with her white friend that is surrounded by people of color. In this part of the reading is when she realizes how yes, they are different but have a similar problem.
Another metaphor Hurston uses is at the end of the reading is when she describes how’ people are like colored bags’ each filled with hopes, desires, disappointment and other things that happen in life and if the bags were to be emptied out they would be the same regardless of the color of the bag which is the skin of people. This is a great metaphor because she basically compared everyone to bags that are filled with emotions that all human beings have no matter the race feel on a daily the only difference is the color of the bag. Everyone is the same so why aren’t they treated the same as what comes out of that metaphor. Before she talks about the bag metaphor she brings up how she ‘sometimes feels discriminated against’ however that doesn’t bring her down or make her feel like she’s nothing she is who she is and is proud of it nobody will ever tell her otherwise. That’s basically her message in the reading of how to think of each other as individuals and not just one thing and argues it with the experience she has had as an African American during the Harlem Renascence.
Zora’s tone throughout the whole reading is positive, she never gets depressed or feels bad about the color of her skin or the challenges she’s achieved instead she celebrates herself and her race, she loves herself and wants everyone to do the same. This reading is a great example of both ethos and pathos because Zora experienced this while growing up and has credibility and makes the reader not feel sad about what she has gone through because of her race but makes them embrace what she feels. The way she arranges her reading is a great way to help her argument, from talking about her childhood and how she grew up with changes in her life to experiences she had while going to school and being out in the real world. She takes a different approach on how she is discriminated, she isn’t like other people who talk about discrimination and how she is blue or that she hates her life, she takes on a different path of how good she feels about herself regardless of the color of her skin. She does not feel pity towards herself but makes the best of who she is.
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