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

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What are the four identies Zora Neale Hurston is trying to show in "How It Feels to Be Colored Me"?

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In this essay, Hurston describes the complexity of identity she experiences being black in a white society.

As a child, up until age 13, she was "Zora of Orange County." She lived in an all-black community, and though she saw whites go through her town, that did not impact her identity. She was dimly aware of race, but was simply herself.

That changed when she was sent to school in Jacksonville. A racial identity was suddenly thrust upon her, one that obscured her individuality. No longer was she Zora, but part of group. As she puts it:

I was not Zora of Orange County any more, I was now a little colored girl.

As an adult, she oscillates between two identities. At times she is fully a black woman, with a black identity. This has two aspects: one is experiencing racism, as she did at Barnard. Another is one of experiencing joy. For example, when she listens to jazz music she describes her inner self feeling a sense of ecstatic liberation that she derives from being black. She says "my color...

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