How it Feels to be Colored Me

by

Zora Neale Hurston

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on How it Feels to be Colored Me can help.

How it Feels to be Colored Me Quotes

Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Applewood Books edition of How it Feels to be Colored Me published in 2015.
Need another quote?
Need analysis on another quote?
Need analysis for a quote we don't cover?
Need analysis for a quote we don't cover?
Need analysis for a quote we don't cover?
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
Request it
Request it
Request analysis
Request analysis
Request analysis
How It Feels to Be Colored Me Quotes

I am colored but I offer nothing in the way of extenuating circumstances except the fact that I am the only Negro in the United States whose grandfather on the mother's side was not an Indian chief.

Related Characters: Zora Neale Hurston (speaker)
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

I remember the very day that I became colored. Up to my thirteenth year I lived in the little Negro town of Eatonville, Florida. It is exclusively a colored town.

Related Characters: Zora Neale Hurston (speaker)
Page Number: 1-2
Explanation and Analysis:

The front porch might seem a daring place for the rest of the town, but it was a gallery seat for me. My favorite place was atop the gatepost. Proscenium box for a born first-nighter. Not only did I enjoy the show, but I didn't mind the actors knowing that I liked it.

Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

They liked to hear me "speak pieces" and sing and wanted to see me dance the parse-me-la, and gave me generously of their small silver for doing these things, which seemed strange to me for I wanted to do them so much that I needed bribing to stop, only they didn't know it. The colored people gave no dimes. They deplored any joyful tendencies in me, but I was their Zora nevertheless.

Related Characters: Zora Neale Hurston (speaker)
Page Number: 4-5
Explanation and Analysis:

I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all but about it. Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more of less. No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

Related Characters: Zora Neale Hurston (speaker)
Page Number: 6-7
Explanation and Analysis:

It is a bully adventure and worth all that I have paid through my ancestors for it. No one on earth ever had a greater chance for glory. The world to be won and nothing to be lost. It is thrilling to think—to know that for any act of mine, I shall get twice as much praise or twice as much blame. It is quite exciting to hold the center of the national stage, with the spectators not knowing whether to laugh or to weep.

Related Characters: Zora Neale Hurston (speaker)
Page Number: 8-9
Explanation and Analysis:

I do not always feel colored. Even now I often achieve the unconscious Zora of Eatonville before the Hegira. I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background. For instance at Barnard. "Beside the waters of the Hudson" I feel my race. Among the thousand white persons, I am a dark rock surged upon, and overswept, but through it all, I remain myself. When covered by the waters, I am; and the ebb but reveals me again.

Related Characters: Zora Neale Hurston (speaker)
Page Number: 9-10
Explanation and Analysis:

Music. The great blobs of purple and red emotion have not touched him. He has only heard what I felt. He is far away and I see him but dimly across the ocean and the continent that have fallen between us. He is so pale with his whiteness then and I am so colored.

Related Characters: Zora Neale Hurston (speaker), The White Friend
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Pour out the contents, and there is discovered a jumble of small things priceless and worthless. A first-water diamond, an empty spool, bits of broken glass, lengths of string, a key to a door long since crumbled away, a rusty knife-blade, old shoes saved for a road that never was and never will be, a nail bent under the weight of things too heavy for any nail, a dried flower or two still a little fragrant. In your hand is the brown bag.

Related Characters: Zora Neale Hurston (speaker)
Related Symbols: Bags
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:
No matches.