Literary Review of “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston.
“Sweat” is an interesting short story written by a black author, Zora Neale Hurston, who presents the reader with a tale about life as an abused wife. Delia, the dynamic character in this story, works to support her husband, Sykes, by doing laundry for the white folks in town. Sykes is a very abusive husband of his wife of fifteen years, even those she is the breadwinner in the household. At the beginning of the story he comes home and scares Delia with a whip; for Sykes knows that Delia is scared of anything bigger than an earthworm. She yells at him and they proceed into a seemingly normal agreement that seems to happen all the time. The laundry that Delia sweats over to make white, is a symbol of how she works so hard to support herself and keep herself pure in the eyes of God. Delia often goes to church and is very religious. All throughout the story the author symbolizes and compares Delia’s plight with Adam and Eve of the Bible. .
One day Sykes brings home a diamond back Rattler snake and keeps it in a makeshift cage right near where Delia always works. He obviously outs it there intentionally to continue to torture and abuse her. One night the snake breaks out and nearly gives Delia a heart attack from scaring her. Sykes thinks it is no .
big deal and eventually dies from is venomous bite. .
The way Zora Neale Hurston writes the story shows the plight of the wife who is repeatedly abused and demoralized by her husband. Their marriage is just merely a license and has no significant value to one another. Sykes was often seen messing around with an ugly woman in town by the name of Bertha. .
The snake is often symbolized throughout the story and starts with the whip. I think that the whip symbolizes a snake, because Sykes uses it to scare Delia. The snake represents Sykes” evil and the evil that Delia tries to push away with her Christianity.