Character Analysis Of Delia Jones In Hurston's Sweat

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In "Sweat," the main character, Delia Jones, is portrayed as a strong-willed, hard-working washwoman who would wash clothes for white people. She worked tireless to provide for her family. Delia was married to Sykes, who would berate, beat and mentally abuse Delia, incessantly. For example, Sykes would walk into the room where Delia just folded clothing for the white people and find the whitest pile of clothes, stomp all over them and then kick them across the room, leaving her to clean up and restack them. Sykes was also openly living in infidelity with another woman, named Bertha. Throughout all of this, Delia "had brought love to the union and he had brought a longing after the flesh" (Hurston). Consequently, these circumstances precipitated Delia 's strength. In fact, one day, Delia "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). Deep down in her soul, she knew that "whatever goes over the Devil’s back, is got…show more content…
I also think that in the 1920 's, women were not given the same status as we are today, so she would have probably been blown off. The men on the Joe Clarke 's porch seem to have plenty to say about Delia, Sykes and his mistress. They criticize Sykes, identifying him as a good-for-nothing, but admit that there is nothing that can be done about their situation. Clarke explains, "Taint no law on earth dat kin make a man be decent if it aint in 'im" (Hurston). They all seemed to have plenty to say, but then the hot weather began to melt "their civic virtue" and a slice of melon became more important to each of them. In the 1920 's, divorces were much more taboo then they are today. I think on one hand, she was also afraid and most likely embarrassed what people might say or think. I also think that there is a fear of the unknown and being on her

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