The Problem of Being Black in Zora Neale Hurston’s Color Struck

Hana Khalief Ghani1 & Istbriq Talib Joody2

1College of Arts, Department of Translation, Al-Mustansiriyah University. Email:

2College of Education for Women, Department of English Language, University of Baghdad.

Volume 9, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n1.13

Received March 3, 2017; Revised March 27, 2017; Accepted April 3, 2017; Published May 7, 2017.


Human physical features such as skin color usually play an important role in defining who the person is. In many societies skin color contributes to determining social status and self-worth. This problems becomes more acute in case of women whose markers of beauty like having lighter skin mean she can enjoy more privileges in terms of partner choice, work, and status than women of dark skin.  The present paper aims at exploring the impact of skin color on the life of Emma who is color stricken in Zora Neale Hurston Color Struck. Rather than discussing this issue in relation to the color-based discrimination by the white-dominated society against the black in Americ, the play focuses on the pernicious effects of internalizing the color-based feelings of inferiority among the black themselves. The paper argues that obession with one’s skin color is not conduisve to one’s well-being. Rather than happiness and empowerment, it leads to self-marginalization and life-long anxiety.

Key words: Hurston, Color Struck, Emma, inferiority.

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