Sweat, By Zora Neale Hurston Essay

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Sweat Symbol Analysis
“Sweat”, by Zora Neale Hurston, is a short story that paints a clear picture on how sometimes a man belittles his wife and makes her seem worthless. What men do not know however, is that wives are mostly always smarter than their husbands, at least in this case. This story portrays an unemployed man with an employed wife that is insecure with the fact that his wife is the main provider in their household. Having to live with this, he makes her life a living hell. Three symbols and themes as well as the protagonist are strongly represented throughout “Sweat” as examples of confinement vs. freedom. The snake represents evil bringing in the theme of domestic abuse, clothing represents hard work with the theme of survival, and the Chinaberry tree represents peace and has empowerment for a theme. The protagonist represents a Christian African American women who overcomes her ultimate fear in the world, her husband.
Delia, the protagonist in the story has a horrible fear of snakes. Her husband Sykes, knows that so he throws a rubber whip on her wanting to scare her, insinuating the main symbol of the story, and the theme of domestic abuse. Sykes places a snake in the house in order to make Delia leave and have the house to himself and his lover Bertha. She pleads him to remove the snake by saying, “Syke, Ah wants you tuh to dat snake ‘way fum heah. You done starved me an’ Ah put up widcher, you done beat me an Ah took dat, but you done kilt all mah insides…

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