illustrated portrait of African American author Zora Neale Hurston

How It Feels to Be Colored Me

by Zora Neale Hurston
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How what would be a rhetorical analysis of “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”?

A rhetorical analysis of Zora Neale Hurston's “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” will examine the author’s arguments (what she is trying to persuade her audience to accept) and the techniques she uses to present and promote those arguments. First, you will want to determine Hurston’s points of persuasion. She explains that she has indeed experienced discrimination because of her race, but she is not angry because of it. Rather she is astonished, for her race does not define who she is as a person. There are certainly times when she feels her race, but these are only occasional and also related to her own character.

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A rhetorical analysis of Zora Neale Hurston's “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” will examine the author’s arguments (what she is trying to persuade her audience to accept) and the techniques she uses to present and promote those arguments.

First, you will want to determine Hurston’s...

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A rhetorical analysis of Zora Neale Hurston's “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” will examine the author’s arguments (what she is trying to persuade her audience to accept) and the techniques she uses to present and promote those arguments.

First, you will want to determine Hurston’s points of persuasion. She explains that she has indeed experienced discrimination because of her race, but she is not angry because of it. Rather she is astonished, for her race does not define who she is as a person. There are certainly times when she feels her race, but these are only occasional and also related to her own character.

Next, think about the rhetorical devices Hurston uses to present and promote her points. You should think first about how Hurston applies logos (the appeal to reason), ethos (the appeal to morality), and pathos (the appeal to emotions). Think, for instance, about the emotional appeal of the scene in the jazz club, the ethical argument about white neighbors, and the logical remarks about citizenship and race.

You should also explore Hurston's use of storytelling as a part of her argument. She paints vivid pictures of her life and ideas as a child, for instance. Hurston also makes fine use of figurative language to support her points. The last paragraph, about the “brown bag of miscellany,” is a good example of that. Finally, make note of Hurston’s humor. Sometimes making one’s readers laugh is an important step in convincing them of an argument.

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