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Analysis of “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston

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Analysis of “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston

Western Governors University
July 19, 2015

Analysis of “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston
Initial Reaction
I suppose my initial reaction to “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston was one of disgust. The story shows “Delia’s” husband “Sykes” to be both physically and psychologically abusive as well as an adulterer. “Sykes” shows no respect for his wife, their marriage or the work she does. “Delia” works every day, and all her hard work pays for their home and puts food on the table. I found this to be most evident in this line “Mah tub of suds is filled yo' belly with vittles more times than yo' hands is filled it. Mah sweat is done paid for this house and Ah reckon Ah kin keep on sweatin' in it" (Hurston, 1926, p. 46). I found it very interesting that “Delia” has stayed with “Sykes” for 15 years despite his abusiveness and apparent failure to provide a stable income for them. I enjoyed that “Delia” finally decided to stand up to her abusive husband. By his initial reaction when “Delia” threatened him with a frying pan, you can see the “Sykes” is nothing but a bully. This is also made apparent by the way the gentlemen in the store were talking about him, even thinking of murdering him, but ceased their bravado when “Sykes” showed up at the store with his girlfriend (Hurston, 1926).
Hurston’s short story was written in 1926 and given the obstacles of African Americans during that time it’s amazing it was ever published. Hurston is a female African American writer who gained notoriety during the Harlem Renaissance, a largely black cultural movement of the 1920s and 1930s (Boyd, 2015). Being that both sexism and racism were a largely prominent during the 20’s, it makes sense that this story is about inequality in marriage. It also argues for women’s rights and the feminist movement. I…...

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