Fall I 2010
Sweat is a short complex story by, Zora Neale Hurston. The story is about an African American woman named Delia and her abusive husband Sykes. The relationship between Delia and Sykes is very dysfunctional. There are many signs to the way Sykes abuses her mentally and physically . In the story is shows how a woman is mistreated and torn down but still has a backbone at the end.
Delia is a hard-working woman who is very obedient and faithful to her husband. While her husband Sykes would break her down mentally in every which way he could. While Delia was hard at work, Sykes would come and knock down all the clothes she had done for the day. Just out of spite to show his masculinity after he knocked down the clothes he would make sure to walk his dirty feet all over the white clothes. Sykes would call her a hypocrite for going to church and coming back to work on the white folks clothes (Hurston 231). He was always telling Delia that he was going to put his fist up side her head if she did not mind him. Another way he would put her down mentally would be to tell her she was ugly skinny that she had no shape.
Delia was always there to support Sykes for whatever he needed. But Sykes had different plans for the money that he received. Sykes was committing adultery right behind Delia’s back. Not even a year after the marriage Sykes had a woman on the side named Bertha (Hurston 232). Sykes wanted to kick Delia out of her own home but she was not having it, her home was all she
had it was lovely to her. He tried to tear her down by being seen in town with his mistress buying her magnificent things as Delia was working hard to give him money for those things. Sykes made Bertha think he was very wealthy and paid for her rent in town (Hurston 235).
Sykes was very abusive in the physical way as well. For example, two months after the wedding, he had given her the first brutal beating (Hurston...
Cited: Gioia, Dana and R.S. Gwynn, eds. Select Writers of the Twentieth Century: A Brief Anthology.
Hurston, Neale Zora. “Sweat”. 230-239
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