Delia Jones' Transformation in Sweat Essay

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Delia Jones' Transformation in Zora Neale Hurston's Sweat

Through external conflict exhibited by three significant occasions with the antagonist and husband, Sykes Jones, Zora Neale Hurston takes her leading character, Delia Jones, through an internal change from a submissive character to an aggressive and defensive character in her short story, "Sweat." When the story opens, one finds Delia Jones on a Sunday evening washing clothes, as was her profession, and humming a tune, wondering where her husband had gone with her horse and carriage. Little did she know that within the week she would stand against her abusive husband and watch him die of the situation he would create.

Delia's repose was suddenly upset by …show more content…

"If it were not Bertha it would be someone else," she told herself. Before finally falling asleep, she found herself talking aloud, concluding that Sykes was going to "reap his sowing." After organizing her thoughts, she was able to spiritually fortify herself against him, and she slept. She slept until his arrival when he rudely kicked her feet and snatched the cover away. In silent triumph she ignored his comments and allowed him his side of the bed.

On the next Saturday Delia was riding through town delivering and picking up clothes as usual as a few of the local townsmen share their insight into the Jones' home. After concluding that Sykes and his "stray woman," Bertha, should be severely disciplined for their actions, they push money forth to share a watermelon. At that moment, Sykes and Bertha arrive, and a silence falls on the porch and the melon is put away. Delia drives by as Sykes is "ordering magnificently for Bertha," but Sykes has no reason to hide his infidelity, for it "pleased him for Delia to see." As the two leave the store, Sykes reminds Bertha "this was his town and she could have it if she wanted it." The men on the porch resume their melon feast at Sykes and Bertha's departure, and they continue their expression of low opinion of Sykes.

Weeks later Delia comes home to find Sykes already there, standing in the doorway. As she attempts to walk through the door,

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