In "How It Feels To Be A Colored Me," what do each of the items in the paper bag represent (first-water diamond, empty spool, bits of broken glass, lengths of string, a key to a door long since...

In "How It Feels To Be A Colored Me," what do each of the items in the paper bag represent (first-water diamond, empty spool, bits of broken glass, lengths of string, a key to a door long since crumbled away, and rusty knifeblade, old shoes saved for a road that never was and never will be, a nail bent under the weight of things to heavy for any nail, a dried flower or two, still a little fragrant)?

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cneukam1379 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hurston ends her essay with this image of several bags, all of different colors to represent people of different skin colors.  She states that if one were to dump the contents of those bags, they would contain "a jumble of small things priceless and worthless."  So firstly, on the inside, we are all the same, filled with these priceless and worthless things, no matter the color of our skin.  Specifically, a first-water diamond is the most precious kind, flawless and perfect.  Of all the things in these bags, this is the one thing we all hold as dear or precious in our lives and memories.  The rest of the stuff is just junk: an empty spool of thread could show someone's emptiness of having spent all that they had--maybe energy to do a good job.  Bits of broken glass could be a jagged or cutting memory that we are holding onto.  The bent nail could show how someone collapsed under the weight of some pressure.  Hurston's point is best summed when she states, "all might be dumped in a single heap and the bags refilled without altering the content of any greatly.  A bit of colored glass more or less would not matter."  No one person is greater than another just because the outside looks different because what is on the inside is basically the same.

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How It Feels to Be Colored Me

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