Zora Neale Hurston Sweat Analysis

Decent Essays
Themes from “Sweat”
Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat” is a story about a woman who has been beaten down emotionally and physically. She has been the main provider for her and her husband, who has very little respect for her, and has lost her youth and beauty because of it. Delia Jones, the lead character in the story, is a strong woman that has one great fear. Her husband knows how intense her phobia of snakes is, and decides to torture her with it: he even brings a snake home, which ends up biting him and causing him his own death.
Physical and emotional abuse
One theme in the story is physical and emotional abuse. Delia is quite often trying to work or simply minding her own business, when her husband, Sykes decides to pick a verbal fight with
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Delia has a very intense phobia of snakes. First, he tries to scare her with a bull whip. It frightened her so much that she was paralyzed momentarily. Then, he brings a real snake home and places it in her path to enter their home. A fear this great could cause one to have a heart attack but it seems he would hope for that in this story. “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”-H.P. Lovecraft
Another theme in the story, which stands out the most to me, is karma. Karma in Hinduism and Buddhism is defined as the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. Delia’s husband, Sykes has been so cruel to her in the story, bringing her greatest fear to her doorstep and later bringing it into her home where she is to do her work that provides for their home. According to the idea of Karma, gets exactly what is owed to him, a deadly bite from the snake.
In conclusion, the three most important themes to me in the story, abuse, fear, and karma are what made the story so good. He abuses her, she has fear, that he pokes fun at, and he is punished for his actions. Her greatest fear saved her from enduring anymore abuse from
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