Literary Analysis And Symbolism In Sweat By Zora Neale Hurston

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In “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston, tells the tale, in which author uses literary analysis and symbolism to empathize the character of Delia’s horrific journey coming to an end in a karmic fashion. Hurston’s parents were former slaves, however, slavery was long abolished during her time. Hurston gave importance to education for which she worked various jobs earned associate degree from Howard University in 1920 (Zora Neale). Hurston’s “Sweat” was influenced by her life in Harlem Renaissance. During that era, where Hurston grew up in town called Eatonville was primarily predominantly owned by “white folks” (Turner). The African-American that lived in Eatonville used to visit across the railroad tracks to white folk’s houses to cook, clean and watch over their children (Wohlpart). ‘Sweat’ is influenced not only by Hurston’s childhood town but also her relationship with her employer, Fannie Hurst (Wohlpart). Hurston met the writer Hurst at Opportunity’s award dinner, May 1, 1925, one year prior to the writing of ‘Sweat’ (Wohlpart). Hurst hired Hurston as a live-in secretary, Hurston felt dependent on Fannie Hurst’s white patronage for recognition, much like Delia did in ‘Sweat’ (Turner), and saw her patron as a restriction to her art (Wohlpart). “Sweat” (Turner) gives a glimpse of African-American women’s life and their anguish shown in Delia’s character through literary devices and symbolism used by Hurston’s life experiences. Hurston starts the piece by telling the audience Delia’s routine, and what she does for a living. Delia washes clothes for “white folks” (Turner), as she is the only one with an income in the house. This is illustrated by when she says, “Mah sweat is done paid for this house and “Ah reckon Ah k... ... middle of paper ... ...either laws regarding infidelity nor any laws against beating and mistreating women. Furthermore, this has to be the worst-case scenario for a woman struggling for fifteen year, since than the time has changed and now people have a choice of a divorce if the relationship is not working out. With imagery and metaphors of Delia’s character, Hurston is able to accomplish the tale of triumph verses good over evil, karmic justice and death by scriptural text. Hurston uses indirect characterization to describe Sykes and Delia’s character, therefore; Sykes as antagonist and Delia as protagonist characters in this short story. Hurston’s message from her story “Sweat”, that with hard work and staying pure at heart can eventually bring happiness in life even in worst situation as Delia, life is a struggle but those who stay positive will enjoy the fruits of life.
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