In Hurston’s personal essay, she offers a reflective commentary on racial identity and dynamics in America. Her conflict arises when she juxtaposes times when she “feels colored” and times when she does not—positing a conditional and situational experience with race. Hurston starts off her paper with ethos, stating, “I remember the very day that I became colored.” The reader can be drawn into her point of view, because we know that she has lived this experience, and we can therefore be trusting of her critiques.
The essay’s use of personal narrative sets up the reader to be encapsulated within Hurston’s childhood surroundings, as well as her perspective on how society is functioning around her. She says, “The only white people I knew passed through the town going to or coming from Orlando.” Her all-black town is starkly contrasted with the outside world, setting up her schema for how she comes to understand the correlation between race, identity, and belonging.
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