Cultural Negotiation

Length: 5 Pages 1230 Words

Metaphors that Shape the Theme of Cultural Negotiation The essay “How it feels to be colored me” composed by Zora Neale Hurston introduces metaphors which construct the theme of cultural negotiation. Within the essay the author describes her personal conflict, illustrated by the use of these metaphors, in which she attempts to develop a cultural negotiation relating to her social and cultural encounters. She is not aware of her color until she leaves her home; this allows her to become acquainted with the values attached to her skin color. Through her journey of self-discovery regarding her color, she reveals the true nature of her being and embraces her role as an American despite of her color. This corresponds to the metaphors that are descriptive of Zora’s emotions as she matures as a colored woman during her culture experiences ; therefore, her acceptance as a unique individual and the pride she shares of her skin color, relates to the metaphors that she uses to express her inner being. In other words the metaphors establish the theme of cultural negotiation through the expression of her identity and her experiences as a colored woman which constitutes her tolerance with the outside world. She sees the white tourist Continue...


As the metaphor reveals the significance of the culture negotiation taking place, we can assume that she gains a sense of equality among herself as a colored individual and the white folk. Zora's experience in the world outside of her black community contributes to her cultural negotiation which she creates through the use of metaphors describing her emotions as she faces the transition. In addition to the theme of cultural negotiation, Zora creates a vivid illustration by using the extended metaphor to describe the similarity between the different colors of the human race which further depicts the changes that she experiences as a colored individual. (16) The use of metaphors initiates the concept of urgency for her to negotiate the effect that the real world has on her colored existence. Zora understands the motive behind their critizism when she is exposed to the outside world for the first time. The metaphors emphasize the way she perceives the nature of her culture and her color but in spite of accepting her color and her culture as the real world acknowledges it, she does sometimes "feel discriminated against, but it does not make her angry(17). Thus we are all alike in composition, although we are distinctive by the color of our skin as based upon the intentions of God, "the Great Stuffer of Bags. She refers back to her compassion that she shares for her color and culture, despite of the way the world characterizes someone of her kind due to the history of her race. The music engulfs her with the familiar sounds that extend beyond the days of her youth and the borders of her black community. The metaphorical description of the event is theatrical in which she occupies "a gallery seat (15) in her "proscenium box as she observes the characters. However, she does not mind that the townsfolk criticize her actions since she believes that she is "everybody's Zora and that she belongs to world. He did not quite feel the intensity of the music since "he has only heard what she felt. She attempts to reconcile the differences between herself and the world in order to live in peace with humanity. She experiences this triumphant burst of passion, although her friend was not astounded by the vibrations because "the great blobs of purple and red emotion have not touched him.