Rhetorical Analysis Paper

“How It Feels to Be Colored Me”


How would you feel if one day you woke up and realized that you were no longer who you thought you were, but who everyone else knew you were? Author, Zora Neale Hurston, shares in the 1928 published writing, “How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” that while she is constantly being reminded that she is colored, she doesn’t live life by her race. Hurston gains credibility with personal narrative, and keeps the momentum towards the end of the writing by attempting to appeal to her audience’s emotional intellect by way of metaphor.

Throughout the paper, Hurston uses her personal narrative to appeal to pathos to build her argument. Her goal is not to make the reader feel sympathy, but hope and inspiration. When Hurston says that she is “not tragically colored,” or being reminded that she descends from slaves “fails to register depression,” she is turning what others view negatively into a positive. Her clear descriptions of being in the jazz club with white people and her mind wandering to the feeling of the music… “he has only heard what I felt,” shows that music has no color. Before closing out, her word choice evokes a since of pride: “My country, right or wrong.” Throughout her paper, she does not claim that race does not exist or that she doesn’t see the flaws of the world she lives in; she chooses to embrace everything that comes with life and try to find happiness at the end.

Hurston continues her pathos appeal through the end of her paper by using a metaphor to inspire hope for the future. She views herself as a “brown bag of miscellany” that later transcends to everyone being a bag. The momentum is kept through the end because she causes the reader to think about us all being a bag full of “jumble” that can be put together and “the bags refilled without altering the content of any greatly.” Closing the argument with a logo appeal makes the reader feel emotion and think critically about the present and the future.

In conclusion, Hurston started her writing strong, followed through and finished strong by motivating her audience to look outside of the negative and find all the positives that will lead to living a free life. The pathos appeal was consistent through every narrative and metaphor. Readers can see the passion and emotion throughout every line. Hurston did a great job of driving home her argument.


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