Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston

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Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston is a remarkable author who reflects her life in most of her novels, short stories, and her essays. She was a writer during the Harlem Renaissance, also known as “the new negro movement”, however; her writings were not given proper recognition at first because they were not of the “norm” for that time period. All of the authors during the Harlem Renaissance were expected to write about race with a political mind set. Hurston was tired of seeing the same writings just different authors so her literary works were very different and were meant to stand out (Trudell). Among all of her abstracts, Sweat was a story of determination and oppression, with religion and strength as the backbone of the story and seems to be one of the most captivating of all her works.

Hurston based her short story Sweat on two man characters, Delia Jones and Sykes Jones. Throughout the whole story Delia and Sykes both showed their determination. Delia was determined that she was not going to let Sykes get his way and break her down to the point that she was helpless and dependant upon him. She worked hard as a wash woman and was the sole money maker in the household. She grew more independent mentally as the story went on and the reader could tell this by the dialogue between Delia and Sykes and the description of Sykes reactions. For instance when they were arguing in the beginning of the story over Delia washing the clothes, it was said that, “she seized the iron skillet from the stove and struck a defensive pose, which act surprised him greatly coming from her. It cowed him and he did not strike her as he usually did” (Hurston). Hurston did this to show that over the f...

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• Hurston, Zora Neale. “Sweat”.

• Trudell, Scott. “Critical Essay on “Sweat”. “Short Stories for Students, Vol. 19, Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center.

• Wagner-Martin, Linda. “Sweat: Overview”. “Reference Guide to Short Fiction, 1st ed., edited by Noelle Watson, St. James press, 1994”. Literature Resource Center.
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