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

How It Feels to Be Colored Me book cover
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According to "How It Feels to Be Colored Me," in what ways does race shape Hurston's sense of identity?

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In "How It Feels to Be Colored Me," Hurston relays to the reader the ways in which race has shaped her sense of identity.  Hurston says that up until she was 13-years-old, race played no factor in her sense of identity.  She grew up in a predominantly black town, Eatonville, and there she was "everybody's Zora."  However, her move to Jacksonville made her begin to feel her color because she was made to feel negatively different.  She says that in her life, she is always reminded of her racial heritage, and her connection to slavery.  But Hurston says that she is still able to achieve a sense of feeling "uncolored" like she did as a child, but that when she is "thrown against a sharp white background" she feels most colored.  So race shapes Hurston's identity when others perceive her as different and oppress her because she is black.

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