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
...lia Jones endured fifteen years of violence, disrespect, and infidelity, and only in those last few months was she able to muster some form of resistance. Until Sykes threatened all that she had, her home and her job, she was content enough just sweating it out. However, Sykes made that grave mistake on his own accord, and when leaving Delia with nothing to lose, he found that he had set himself up for a losing battle. Delia had surrendered to him in all those years, but Sykes had finally found a way to bring out the worst in his wife, and her aggression was finally realized by defending all that she had. After such pain and endurance, one can easily recognize how Delia Jones played the lead role in a short story called "Sweat."
'You sho' is one aggravatin' nigger woman!'; this is only one example of the abuse in Zora Neale Hurston's short story, 'Sweat'. Spousal abuse is a very common issue in today's society. Hurston represents this form of abuse through the way the husband talks to his wife and the way he treats her.
The main character in Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat” is a black woman who resides in the South that clutches on to her belief in God to help her get through the suffering that she endures from her abusive and adulterous husband, Sykes. “Sweat” is full of religious symbolism that demonstrates that Hurston was using the theme of good vs. evil in the short story.
Ethnic group is a settled mannerism for many people during their lives. Both Zora Neale Hurston, author of “How It Feels to Be Colored Me; and Brent Staples, author of “Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space,” realize that their life will be influenced when they are black; however, they take it in pace and don’t reside on it. They grew up in different places which make their form differently; however, in the end, It does not matter to them as they both find ways to match the different sexes and still have productivity in their lives.. Hurston was raised in Eatonville, Florida, a quiet black town with only white passer-by from time-to-time, while Staples grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania, surrounded by gang activity from the beginning. Both Hurston and Staples share similar and contrasting views about the effect of the color of their
In the essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” Zora Neale Hurston describes her life growing up in Florida and her racial identity as time goes on. Unlike many, she disassociates herself with “the sobbing school of Negrohood” that requires her to incessantly lay claim to past and present injustices and “whose feelings are all hurt by it”. Although she acknowledges times when she feels her racial difference, Hurston portray herself as “tragically colored.” Essentially, with her insistence that she is unhurt by the people treat her differently, Hurston’s narrative implies she is happier moving forward than complaining. Ironically, Hurston is empowered by her race and the double standard it imposes stating, “it is thrilling [that for every action,] I shall get twice as much praise or twice as much blame.”. Moreover, with her insistence that we are all equal under “The Great Stuffer of Bags,” she accepts every double standard and hardship as good. Hurston’s narrative of self empowerment moves and entertains the reader, while still drawing attention unjust treatment Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat” is a distressing tale of human struggle as it relates to women. The story commences with a hardworking black washwoman named Delia contently and peacefully folds laundry in her quiet home. Her placidity doesn’t last long when her abusive husband, Sykes, emerges just in time to put her back in her ill-treated place. Delia has been taken by this abuse for some fifteen years. She has lived with relentless beatings, adultery, even six-foot long venomous snakes put in places she requires to get to. Her husband’s vindictive acts of torment and the way he has selfishly utilized her can only be defined as malignant. In the end of this leaves the hardworking woman no choice but to make the most arduous decision of her life. That is, to either stand up for herself and let her husband expire or to continue to serve as a victim. "Sweat,” reflects the plight of women during the 1920s through 30s, as the African American culture was undergoing a shift in domestic dynamics. In times of slavery, women generally led African American families and assumed the role as the adherent of the family, taking up domestic responsibilities. On the other hand, the males, slaves at the time, were emasculated by their obligations and treatment by white masters. Emancipation and Reconstruction brought change to these dynamics as African American men commenced working at paying jobs and women were abandoned at home. African American women were assimilated only on the most superficial of calibers into a subcategory of human existence defined by gender-predicated discrimination. (Chambliss) In accordance to this story, Delia was the bread victor fortifying herself and Sykes. Zora Neale Hurston’s 1926 “Sweat” demonstrates the vigor as wel...
Zora Neale Hurston’s short story Sweat is a visceral reminder of the acute oppression and sexism women have always faced in American society. The protagonist of the story, Delia, is married to a cruel and angry man named Sykes. Through a depiction of their married life this short story shows that despite patriarchal oppression, women have exercised their agency and resisted in a myriad of ways.
Delia was finally getting fed up with Sykes and his dastardly plans to get her out of the house. Yet she was not going to let a snake drive her out of the home she paid for, so that night she informed Sykes “ Ah got mah letter fum de church an’ moved mah membership tuh Woodbridge--so Ah don’t haf tuh take no sacrament wid yuh. Ah don’t wantuh see yuh ‘roun’ me atall”(Hurston 7). Delia was refusing to continue and let Sykes cause her agony so the next best plan was to avoid the person that was the cause of her
Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “Sweat” presents the efforts and endurance of a very strong yet miserable wife over the course of fifteen years of marriage with an abusive, disloyal, and odious husband who thinks he has lost his power and control over his wife and try to get them back by mistreating, beating and cheating on her. Sykes’ continual abuse against Delia stems from his psychological issues of insecurity related to both not being able to provide and the racial intolerance of the times.
Reality. Zora Neale Hurston dramatizes the idea of things aren’t always what they seem to be and a marriage can be easily destroyed from the smallest misconception of wanting wealth. Although, Hurston questions the tradition of a relationship as a self-fulfillment and criticized as antithetical to personal freedom (Siegel), she still details the basic things that can change greatly in any relationship. A marriage during this time was something more surreal, it was the idea of domestic happiness and maintaining the appearance of happiness to keep an illusion of a happy marriage. Throughout, the 1930’s women were suppressed by their husbands without their husbands these women had no identity, so they cleaned, and raised children to achieve their personal freedom (German). Missie May didn’t have no identity other than her husbands’, Joe would wake up every morning and Missie May would have already completed breakfast ask "Missie May, ain't you gonna fix me no breakfus'?" (Hurston) and have his work clothes cleaned and ready for his day out. As the layers begin to unfold, Missie May begins to show how much of a value herself as a wife and showing how unaltered her love is to her husband “Ah'm a real wife, not no dress and breath. Ah might not look lak one, but if you burn me, you won't git a thing but wife ashes” (Hurston pg.1). Missie May claims to be the most trustworthy and faithful wife of all of the town, she
Freedom to live their life in the way they want to is the right of every person in this world. The short story “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston portrays the typical condition of any women during the time period of Harlem Renaissance. During this time, women were merely considered a property of their husbands. They were oppressed and forced to live their life in the way their husbands tell them to. They had no right to oppose any decisions that their husbands make for them. They had no right to make any choices for themselves like receiving further educations, wishing to work, or becoming successful. The typical mentality of people during the time period created an atmosphere where protesting against these harassments was considered a sin. The main character of “Sweat”, Delia Jones, is one of those typical women who suffered through harassment from her husband Sykes. The story depicts how her strong attitude and patience led her to justice when her husband’s trick to scare her back-fired on him. Certainly, everyone
This excerpt from Zora Neale Hurston’s book, Their Eyes Were watching God, is an example of her amazing writing. She makes us feel as if we are actually in her book, through her use of the Southern Black vernacular and admirable description. Her characters are realistic and she places special, well thought out sentences to keep us interested. Zora Neale Hurston’s art enables her to write this engaging story about a Southern black woman’s life.
Zora Neale Hurston’s writing embodies the modernism themes of alienation and the reaffirmation of racial and social identity. She has a subjective style of writing in which comes from the inside of the character’s mind and heart, rather than from an external point of view. Hurston addresses the themes of race relations, discrimination, and racial and social identity. At a time when it is not considered beneficial to be “colored,” Hurston steps out of the norm and embraces her racial identity.
Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “Sweat” is about a woman, Delia who is physically and emotionally abused by her husband, Sykes, whose actions she struggles to overcome towards her. Through all the abuse, Delia takes pride in her hard work and her religion. In this story, Hurston uses religions and moral symbolism that controls the character’s actions throughout the plot.