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Symbolism in Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston

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Symbolism in Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston

"Sweat" by Zora Neale Hurston is filled with symbolism ranging from images that are easily captured to things that require a little bit more insight. Religion has apparently played a major role in Hurston's life, readily seen in "Sweat" with the references to a snake and Gethsemane. Symbolism plays a big part of this story and after analyzing these, they give the story a deeper meaning and can enlighten the reader as to the full meaning of "Sweat".

The most apparent symbol in the story is the title, "Sweat". It is also mentioned in the story, "Looka heah, Sykes, you done gone too fur. Ah been married to you fur fifteen years, and Ah been takin' in washin' fur fifteen years. Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat" (Hurston 679). The "Sweat" is the product of Delia's hard work supporting them. It stands for her work ethic and how she has tried to make her work as best as she can, it is a big part of her life.

Another easily recognized symbol in this story is that of the snake. "Sykes, what you throw dat whip on me like dat? You know it would skeer me - looks just like a snake, an' you knows how skeered Ah is of snakes" (Hurston 678). The snake is the main symbol in this story, it ties it together because it is mentioned at the beginning of the story and at the end. Sykes decides to bring a snake into their home, "Look in de box dere Delia, Ah done brung yuh somethin'.Syke! Syke, mah Gawd! You tak...
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