"Sweat" and "Gilded Six-Bits" by Zora Neale Hurston: A Closer Look

3081 WordsOct 16, 200613 Pages
The Harlem Renaissance marked the coming out of many brilliant black authors and thinkers. Names like Jessie Redmon Fauset, Alain Locke, Ralph Waldo Ellison, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston marked the scene. Hurton portrays many messages in her stories without having to explicitly spell it out. This among other reasons make Hurston's writing so rich. Two of her almost fable-like stories, "Sweat" and "The Gilded Six-Bits", each portray powerful messages individually. In "Sweat," you get a message of "whatever goes over the Devil's back, is got to come under his belly." You will reap what you sow among other messages. In "The Gilded Six-Bits," you learn that time will heal, money is the root of all evil, and other morals. These…show more content…
Missie May was slowly regaining the position she once held in the relationship. In "Sweat," the power dynamics started off a bit differently. Sykes seem to have all the power in the household, as he did come and go as he pleased and beat Delia considerably. Hurston begins "Sweat" by illustrating Sykes' dominance over Delia. Delia is in a submissive position on her knees while Sykes is towering over with a whip. Delia is frightened because she believes the whip to be a snake. The whip is described as "something long, round, limp, and black"(Sweat 1491) which creates the illusion of a penis. Delia's feeling for the one-eyed snake, the whip, equates to her sexual desires to Sykes. But throughout the story, time and time again, Delia attempts to grasp some power. When her house becomes threatened, she stands up to Sykes. This is such a surprise to him that he doesn't beat her as he usually would, he instead leaves. The story does leave one wondering how much power Sykes really has in the town. He parades around town with his mistress. He beats on his wife and tries to woo every woman he sees. These are all points brought up by the townspeople themselves as they complain about him. They even talk about killing the man, but they continur to remain at a distance and watch everything he does. Can one really argue that Sykes isn't powerful in a town that allows him to do whatever he wants? But this power is, indeed,

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