Critical Analysis Of Sweat By Zora Neale Hurston

1187 Words5 Pages
Historical criticism strives to cognize a literary work by examining the social, cultural, and intellectual context that essentially includes the artist’s biography and milieu. Historical critics are more concerned with guiding readers through the use of identical connotation rather than analyzing the work’s literary significance. (Brizee and Tompkins). The journey of a historical reading begins with the assessment of how the meaning of a text has altered over time. In many cases, when the historical context of a text is not fully comprehended, the work literature cannot be accurately interpreted. For example, three literary works that entail the reader to better understanding the historical context are: “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston, “London”…show more content…
During this rough time period, segregation was common and prohibition was recently introduced. Along with this, many other social and political issues played a role in Hurston's "Sweat." Consequently, a historical background of the early twentieth century would be ideal in order for the reader to better comprehend and appreciate the work thoroughly. In this story, Hurston writes about Delia and Syke's work lives. In the early 1900's, approximately sixty percent of African American woman and about twenty percent of men were employed (Mclaughlin).During this time period, men felt that they were vastly superior over women. As a consequence, men did not want to see women working or earning more than them. In the story, although Syke did not work and he lived through Delia's wage, he did not approve of Delia financially supporting the both of them. The racism experienced by African American's was a large factor in the inspiration for most of Hurston's writings. The majority of jobs held by African American women were domestic based jobs for white people. Similar to Syke, this fact upset many husbands (Seidel). Syke displays his hatred towards Delia's career by stomping over the clothes she is washing. He directly demonstrates his discontentedness that he has with the white race and Delia's job: "Ah done tole you time and again to keep them white folks' clothes outa dis house” (Hurston). Without having proper historical…show more content…
Considering the fact that this poem was written during World War II, the varied interpretations of this poem are many. Because the medical knowledge in the twentieth century was minuscule as compared to the medical knowledge and advancements that we have today, women were not advised to have children (Lambert). In the poem, Kees notes on how he does not desire to have a daughter because of the poor living conditions at the time. It is safe to assume that Weldon Kees did not foresee a hopeful future for the world. With World War II in action and the Great Depression ending shortly before, hope was a difficult thing to foresee. Food, clothing, and gas were highly rationed and women were expected to take part in labor intensive jobs such as welders and electricians. (AMERICA GOES TO WAR). Keen was most likely afraid of the difficult life that his son or daughter would have to face. His writings focus around themes of sadness and loss of hope due to the social and political changes occurring throughout his

More about Critical Analysis Of Sweat By Zora Neale Hurston

Open Document