Zora Neale Hurston Sweat Summary

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Zora Neale Hurston is a remarkable author who reflects her life in most of her novels, short stories, and essays. She was a writer during the Harlem Renaissance but her work was not given its proper recognition until many years later. “Sweat” is a short story rich in morals and religious. The story is about an African American woman in the South who depends on her faith in God to see her through her marital vows that have lost their meaning. Religious symbolism plays a significant role in this story and gives the story a deeper meaning. The two main characters, Delia and Sykes Jones are described as two people on opposite ends of the moral spectrum that are bound by meaningless marital vows. Delia Jones is a hard working woman who relies …show more content…

Sykes has been abusing Delia since they first became husband and wife and the entire town is aware of it. Years of Sykes abuse has caused Delia to become extremely thin and she is no longer as beautiful as she once was. The people in their town feel sorry for Delia and many of them dislike Sykes. Elijah Moseley says, “He done beat huh ‘nough tuh kill three women, let ‘lone change they looks” (1024). This phrase is symbolic of the abuse Delia has endured and the toll it has taken on her physical appearance. No matter how Delia’s appearance changes she continues to stay with Sykes. In the beginning, Sykes uses a whip to scare Delia because he knows she is terrified of snakes. He later brings a real snake into their home in an attempt to scare Delia and force her to leave the home. The snake is symbolic of the evilness of Sykes which is completely opposite of Delia’s purity and strong faith. The snake is a biblical allusion to the story of Adam and Eve when Satan took the form of a snake to lure Eve to eat the apple in the Garden of Eden. Sykes sole purpose in bringing the snake into the home was to force Delia to leave so that he could move his mistress in Delia’s house. But Delia’s strength would not allow her to leave her home nor would she give in to Sykes childish

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