Examples Of Reversal In Sweat By Zora Neale Hurston

952 Words4 Pages
Aristotle defines reversal in a tragedy as, “The change of fortune in the action of the play to the opposite state of affairs; just as has been said; and this change, we argue, should be in accordance with probability and necessity” (Aristotle 19). In Zora Neale Hurston’s Sweat, Delia, the wife, is abused by her husband throughout the story. Although she is oppressed by Sykes, her Husband, Delia stands up for herself and contests his power. According to Aristotle’s definition of reversals, power constantly moves back and forth between Sykes and Delia throughout the story. Delia and Sykes have been married for over fifteen years, yet two months after their marriage Sykes started abusing her. That being said, it wasn’t always like that; Sykes at one point was afraid that Delia was going to leave him. Sykes, before he was married, was described by the townspeople as, “He useter eat some mighty big hunks uh humble pie tuh git dat lil ‘oman he got. She wuz pritty ez a speckled pup! Dat wuz fifteen yeahs ago . He useter be so skeered uh losin’ huh, she could make him do some parts of a husband’s duty. Dey never wuz de same in de mind” (Hurston 4).
Sykes fifteen years ago was a completely different man than he was now. Power was reversed back then, like the townspeople said, he used to be so scared of her leaving, she could make him do parts of a husbands duty. Comparing that to his current complex, she can’t even make him hold a door for her now. He harasses her constantly,

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