The Role Of Women In Zora Neale Hurston's Sweat

1051 Words5 Pages
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…show more content…
evil through the symbolization of the snake and the death of Sykes. For years, historically, a snake has symbolized revenge and sin, but this symbolization becomes even more apparent throughout the story when Sykes’s hatred for Delia is portrayed through his actions with the snake. The snake serves as an allusion for the Devil as compared to Sykes’s sinful actions. As Sykes reiterates, “Taint no use uh you puttin’ on airs makin’ out lak you skeered uh dat snake – he’s gointer stay right heah tell he die,” he is going to keep the snake, symbolizing the sin, around until it dies. Despite the fact that Delia is scared, Sykes continues to keep the snake as an inducement for Delia to leave him so that he no longer has to commit this

More about The Role Of Women In Zora Neale Hurston's Sweat

Open Document