Short Story Essay

Better Essays
April Suarez
Professor Nolan
English 1B
4 March 2013
Recognizing Power
One theme among five stories included in chapter eleven was the power struggle between characters, either within themselves or among other characters. Power is somewhat of an elusive concept in which it can take many forms. The characters within this chapter exhibit a wide spectrum of power including the power achieved through independence and feelings of empowerment, the corruption that may coincide in great power, or the illusion of power.
In the first story, titled Sweat, the character Delia and her broke marriage to Sykes is introduced. It is no surprise to learn that Sykes is having an affair with another woman, an affair which he flaunts around town. In the following excerpt one of the neighbors speculates on Sykes’ treatment of Delia.
“There’s plenty of men dat takes a wife lak dey do a joint uh sugar cane. It’s round, juicy, an’ sweet when dey gits it. But dey squeeze an grind, squeeze an grind an’ wring tell dey wring every drop uh pleasure dat’s in ‘em out. When dey’s satisfied dat det is wrung dry, dey treats ‘em jes’ lak dey do a cane-chew. Dey thows ‘em away.” (Hurston 425)
Delia is a hard worker and the sole breadwinner between the two due to her husband’s insufferable spending on his mistress. Delia grows sick of her husband’s cruelty and finally bursts “that ole snaggle-toothed black woman you runnin’ with ain’t comin heah to pile up on mah sweat and blood. You ain’t paid for nothin’ on this place, and Ah’m gointer stay right heah till Ah’m toted out foot foremost” (424). At times like this Delia’s defiance takes Sykes by surprise because he had grown accustomed to her submission. In an attempt to regain power in his marriage Sykes brings home Delia’s greatest fear: a snake. Delia’s fear of snakes is so extreme that she can’t even stand the sight of earthworms. Because of Delia’s late outbursts, Sykes felt uneasy about her newly erupted strength and if he could no



Cited: Ed. New York: Pearson, 2013. 451. Print.

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