Zora Hurston 's `` Sweat ``

Decent Essays
“Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat cry and sweat, pray and sweat!”(Hurston 278) That is the life Delia has had for fifteen years. Delia, the main character of Zora Hurston’s short story “Sweat”, is trapped in a poisonous relationship with her husband Sykes. It is this abusive and adulterous marriage that causes Delia to make no attempt to save his life from a snake bite.
Delia suffered from mental and physical abuse from her husband. Sykes had previously beaten Delia, “He done beat huh ‘nough tuh kill three women, let ‘lone change they looks.”(Hurston 280). The story starts with Delia in the kitchen sorting clothes when Sykes scares her with his whip. “You know it would skeer me – looks just like a snake, an’ you knows how skeered Ah is of snakes.”(Hurston 277). The whip is a symbol of evil and the masculine oppression the Delia has to deal with throughout the story. “She saw that Sykes had kicked all of the clothes together again, and now stood in her way truculently, his whole manner hoping, praying for an argument.”(Hurston 278). The white clothes that Delia is washing represent her pureness and Sykes kicking them and dirtying them up signifies his abusiveness towards Delia. Sykes lives his life to torment Delia, further showing his evilness. However, Delia’s strong religious believes keep her in the abusive adultery relationship, though she is looking for a way out.
Not only was Sykes abusive to Delia he was also unfaithful, having a mistress named Bertha.
Get Access