How It Feels to Be Colored Me Questions and Answers
by Zora Neale Hurston

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Analyze Hurston’s rhetorical decision to divide her essay "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" into four parts. What central image or images anchor each part?

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Zora Neale Hurston organizes her autobiographical essay "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" into four sections. The first two are basically narrative, while the latter two are more figurative and expressive. The rhetorical structure, as well as her use of literary elements throughout the essay, allow Hurston to make her major points repeatedly but in diverse ways to reach as many readers as possible.

In the first section of the essay, Hurston takes a traditional approach from which she will later drastically depart. She begins simply with a kind of thesis: She is "colored" but she doesn't feel disadvantaged or defined by it. She then describes her childhood in Eatonville, an all-black town. She didn't grow up thinking of herself as different, so this clearly shaped her attitude toward racism and identity. She uses anecdotes to paint a vivid picture of what kind of child she was: exuberant, confident, and social.

The second section of the essay sees Hurston comparing how others think she should...

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