Name: Lakisha Minnis Instructor: Mr. Compton English 2202-001 Date: April. 24, 2017 Sweat Zora Neale Hurston is a prolific writer famed for numerous award winning plays, novels and short stories. In this paper, I will be elaborating on a character from the novel Sweat. Her novel Sweat was first published in 1926. Sweat is a novel that tells a story about the good, evil, and domestic abusive husband.
In the short story Sweat written by Zora Neale Hurston, she tells the story of a hard-working woman named Delia Jones and her abusive, cheating husband Sykes. Delia and Sykes are drastically different characters. Delia is an honest, church going woman, who cleans white people 's laundry to make ends meet and Skyes is a low-down womanizer who uses his wife 's income to support not only himself but also Bertha the woman he is having an affair with. After years of putting up with her husband 's mistreatment, Delia finally holds her ground. She defends her job with a skillet. For the first time Sykes backs down. This is the beginning of the end for their relationship. Hurston lays the foundation for a story of good versus evil.
Zora Neal Hurston’s Sweat tells the story of a woman, Delia, who is in an abusive relationship with her husband Sykes. At the end of the story she lets him die from a rattlesnake bite in defiance to him after everything he has done to her, including beating her constantly and cheating on her. Delia’s actions at the end of the short story were completely justifiable.
“Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurtson exemplifies the amount of disrespect and domestic abuse a woman can handle. It also demonstrated how some males view women in a distasteful and unsatisfied way. Gender and sexuality can initiate most of the specific tactics of domestic violence that can dehumanize an individual, especially women. Zora Neale Hurtson’s character, Delia Jones, demonstrates how women can transition from being inferior to becoming superior in a domestic relationship. The story opened with Delia washing clothes for white people on Sunday, and Sykes verbally abused her for dishonoring God because she was washing clothes that belong to white people on the Sabbath day. As Sykes Jones stated, “Ah done tole you time and again to keep the white folks’ clothes outa dis house,” (site) exemplifying Delia has grown accustomed to remaining silent in the face of abuse. It is on this day after a particularly bad scare and added abuse by being mocked for that fear that her character shifts. Delia’s remarkable transformation as a character from a meek abuse victim to a stronger, independent yet gentle woman occurs whenever Sykes mocks her for her fear of snakes or when there is a scene involving the rattlesnake.
Even though some got away your owner you catch you and bring you back. You had to work out on searing hot days. If you don’t work you don’t get paid and you get beaten. Blacks and whites were paid different white got more blacks got less. No matter how hard blacks worked white still got more.
All of this works symbolically as a measure of the characters ' integrity and freedom, which in turn demonstrates a contrast to the image of the carefree, ‘happy darky’ that prevailed in the fiction of many American novelists” ("Zora Neale Hurston. " Notable Black American Women). In the novel, Hurston explores the gender roles of African American women during this time period. It follow the story of a young lady named Janie, who was struggling to fit in the world.
Hurston tells the story of Janie, a black woman who because of her grandmother experiences and beliefs was forced to marry into a loveless marriage with Logan Killicks, a hard-working farmer who had 60 acres of land and could provide for Janie. This marriage ended when Janie ran away with Joe Stark, a man that she fell in love with and thought could give her the love absent between her and Logan. But Janie soon realized that her second marriage wouldn’t turn out better than her first. Joe was just as controlling and degrading as Logan. He hardly expressed his love for Janie and spoke to her like an incompetent child.
The short story Sweat written by Zora Neale Hurston takes places in Florida in the 1920s about the marriage of a black couple named Delia Jones and Sykes and how she is trapped in this marriage and is constantly being abused by her husband and uses her fears to his advantage to effect their relationship. There are many themes throughout this short story but the main one that stood out was the strong feminism. Feminism is portrayed in Sweat by the main character Delia Jones which is the breadwinner in the relationship and works as a washwoman and is stuck in a toxic marriage and has to provide for her insecure husband Sykes. Just like how Delia is not privileged due to her race and her gender in Sweat, African American women are also by the same reasons, since slavery they have struggled individually and in groups to overcome the multiple injustices that they and their communities face. The term Black feminism was not a widely used term until the Black women 's movement in the 1970s.
Zora Hurston uses vivid imagery, natural diction, and several literary tools in her essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”. Hurston’s use of imagery, diction, and literary tools in “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” contributes to, and also compliments, the essay’s theme which is her view on life as a “colored” person. Throughout “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” Hurston carefully incorporates aspects of her African American culture in an effort to recapture her ancestral past. Hurston’s use of imagery, diction, and use of literary tools shape her essay into a piece of Harlem Renaissance work.
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
As Maria Tai Wolff says “for telling to be successful, it must become a presentation of sights with words. The best talkers are “big picture talkers”. For Hurston, the construction of African American identity requires a voice that can make you see, a voice that celebrates the visible presence of black bodies.
In Zora Neal Hudson’s short story “Sweat”, “Don 't think Ah 'm gointuh be run 'way fum mah house neither. Ah 'm goin ' tuh de white folks bout you, mah young man, de very nex ' time you lay yo ' han 's on me. Mah cup is done run ovah." Delia said this with no signs of fear”. What Delia did right there is right.
Louise and Delia What do most women want in a marriage? Is it hatred and an unfaithful husband? No! Women expect to have a husband who loves and cares for them.
Zora Neale Hurston wrote “Sweat” during the Harlem Renaissance. A time when writers, artists, and musicians were exploring and greatly influenced by the events taking place in their social and cultural environments. There is plenty that can be taken away from the story. Hurston use of symbolism with sweat, laundry, and a snake give so much more meaning to the story.