Analysis Of Zora Neale Hurston 's Sweat Essay

Analysis Of Zora Neale Hurston 's Sweat Essay

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Zora Neale Hurston wrote “Sweat” in 1926. During this time period, it was still a common practice to segregate whites from blacks and women were still not considered equals. Delia, the main character and protagonist of “Sweat”, was at a great disadvantage and represented many of the struggles that women faced during this time period. The one aspect that differed, however, was the fact that Delia was the sole provider for herself and Sykes. This was extremely uncommon during this time which could be a factor for why Sykes treated her with such disrespect. Men during this time wanted to feel the sense of superiority. Since Sykes lacked the masculinity of providing for his wife, he made up for it by boasting his confidence and abilities to another woman. Throughout the story, Sykes’s behavior and actions presents as the epitome of evil whereas Delia serves as a model of Christianity and nobility.
While Delia is challenging the idealistic gender roles, Sykes is oppressing her and all that she stands for. Sykes’s degrading personality is apparent through his actions towards Delia, “He picked up the whip and glared down at her,” (Hurston). Despite how hard she works Delia is still punished by Sykes’s actions. He literally and metaphorically beats her until she is no longer the same woman she once was. His evil and degrading ways are at a constant struggle between Delia’s hardworking and good work ethic. Through the character development and actions, Hurston is able to portray the oppression between gender roles that was so prevalent for the time period for which this story was written.
The story’s theme relies heavily on the constant struggle between good and evil and God and the Devil. Delia is a religious woman who is compassionate ...


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...erself from the oppression. Although neither choice is ideal nor moral, it serves as a lesson. Zora Neale Hurston provides the women of this time period the opportunity and hope that it is possible to face oppression.
Hurston intertwines the themes of oppression with the struggle of good vs. evil. This short story serves as message to women to stand up to the oppressive gender roles that many face even today. Sykes striving for superiority is what ultimately oppresses Delia and forces the normal gender roles upon her. The idea of masculinity affecting gender roles and creating a struggle between good vs. evil creates a better understanding of what it was like to be a woman during the 1920’s. Since this theme was an issue during this time period, the story itself sheds some light on the subject and serves as an opportunity for women to make a change like Delia did.  

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Analysis Of Zora Neale Hurston 's Sweat Essay

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