Sweat Literary

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Hard Work Always Pays Off

Since the beginning of time man and woman have been told how they should act and what roles they should take in society. Today, the media is playing a major part in telling the role man and woman should take in society. Every day we see an ad in a magazine, on the TV, or on a billboard telling us what a perfect man or woman is. A man is supposed to support and protect his family, while the women can be one of two things. She can be a housewife whose only duties are to please her husband, keep the house looking nice, and take care of the kids, or she can work a full time job and support her family like the husband. However, just a few generations ago, society expected a husband to support his wife.

In "Sweat," Delia, the protagonist, was constantly badgered by her husband. She survives years of his cruel treatment in a community that does nothing to help her. "Well, you better quit gittin `me riled up, else they'll be totin' you out sooner than you expect, Ah'm so tired of you Ah don't know whut to do" (75). He expected his wife to do domestic work and be an obedient, loyal wife, while he, the husband, could do what he pleased. He made her work harder by stamping on her employer‘s laundry. "You quit grindin dirt into these clothes! How can Ah git through by Satday if Ah don't start on Sunday"(74)? Delia's attitude toward her bad marriage changed because of her lack of endurance for her life. She no longer relied on Sykes to fulfill her life. The fire behind her eyes could no longer be restricted by Sykes mistreatment and unfaithfulness.

In Hurston's story, Delia also found her independence and freedom inside her own home. Home was a place where Delia expressed herself through both her creative spirit and through the spoken word. Although Delia was a working woman who did white people's laundry, her creative spirit was brought out in the very way she faithfully and methodically completed all of her work each week....
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