Sweat By Zora Neale Hurston Summary

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"Sweat" by Zora Neale Hurston is about a woman named Delia, a washerwoman in Florida during the 1900s. Her husband of fifteen years, Sykes does not work, yet he complains about Delia cleaning "white folks'" clothes in their home(603). The marriage is abusive; Sykes began physically and emotionally beating Delia, two months after marrying her and hasn't stop since. Citizens in the town remark how the Delia was once "young and soft" but now has lost it because of Sykes(604). Delia realizes that she does not need to be with someone to be happy, because she has her beliefs, that everything will turn out good in the end. Sykes then brings home a rattlesnake to scare Delia and she runs away to hide from it. The rattlesnake ends up in Delia's bed …show more content…

Delia likes everything to be clean and maintain so that she can be in control of the aspects in her life. Clean is often interpreted as being pure, which is what Delia tries to do when she is cleaning the clothes on a daily basis. Delia is a religious person who is pure from the darkness of Sykes presence and is compared to Jesus on how they both overcome struggles to obtain the good. As explained by Delia, "Ah been takin' in washin' fur fifthteen years. Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat!"(603). That she has been working for years, trying to make a living and it was back breaking work which got her the money to pay for her financial needs along with Sykes, who doesn't have a job. The author continues to use sweat as a form of currency to what she has earned from being a washerwoman. As described by Delia, "That ole snaggle-toothed black woman you runnin' with aint comin' heah to pile up on mah sweat and blood"(603). That no one is going to take her home that she paid for her on her own with the money she sweated

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