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How It Feels To Be Colored Me Analysis

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How it Feels to be Colored Me" was written in 1928. Zora, growing up in an all-black town, began noticing the differences between blacks and whites at about the age of thirteen. The only white people she had contact with were those that passed through her town of Eatonville, Florida, many times on their way to or coming from Orlando.

The main focus of "How it Feels to be Colored Me" is the relationship and differences between blacks and whites. When she was young. However, Zora cared very little about the differences between blacks and whites; she didn't even know such differences existed until she became a teenager.

She says, "I remember the very day I became colored." Before this time, she cites the only difference being that "[white people] rode through town and never lived there." During this part of her work, Zora is showing her childhood view that whites and blacks are no different from one another but this view quickly changes when she is sent away to school. She attends a school in Jacksonville and now that she is outside her town of Eatonville, she begins to experience what it was like to be colored (black).

"But I am not tragically colored," she says. Zora makes it a point to show how she is not ashamed to be colored. At this point she seems to attack whites who continue to point out that she is the granddaughter of slaves by saying that blacks are moving forward. She refuses to stay bound by the memory of slavery and by the fact that she is black as we can see on page 168.

"I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background." This same feeling is also related to a white person being set against the background of colored people. Unlike her childhood views, she now sees a difference between whites and blacks. This is explained by the reaction of each to a jazz orchestra at a Harlem night club. The music has a different effect on her than it does on a white gentleman that sat next to her.

"This orchestra grows rambunctious, rears on its hind legs and attacks the tonal veil with primitive fury, rendering it, clawing it until it breaks through to the jungle beyond. I follow those heathen - follow them exultantly. I dance wildly inside myself; yell within, I whoop...



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