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 tourists that pass through her exclusive black community as a spectacle and is quite entertained by their gestures as they exchange glances and friendly notions. 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. She finds
them rather amusing and “not only did [she] enjoy the show, but [she] didn’t mind the actors knowing that [she] liked it”. As she entertains the tourists by singing and dancing, the townsfolk perceive her behaviour as unacceptable, because they consider it to be degrading to their culture. However, she does not mind that the townsfolk criticize her actions since she believes th...