In the story, the washerwoman Delia is afraid of snakes and her devious husband Sykes knows this very well. With knowing this information Sykes conceives a plan to try to get Delia out of the house. For his first attempt he tricks delia into thinking a whip was a snake and scares the heebie jeebies out of her. When he realizes that the fright act was not enough to get Delia out of the house he catches a rattlesnake and brings it into the home. Delia being afraid of snakes she begs Sykes to kill it as soon as she sees it. As a matter of fact, like the arrogant jerk he is he leaves it to roam around in the house hoping it kills Delia. These acts make Delias hatred grow stronger than whatever ounce of love she had left in her for Sykes. Likewise, the snake is used to symbolize betrayal, temptation, and evil.
Another Symbolic meaning in the short story is the chinaberry tree. Delia sits under the china berry tree as the evil of Sykes actions unravels. She sits and waits under the tree waiting for Sykes to die from the snake bite he had gotten from the snake that he brought into the house to spite Delia. Had Sykes listened to Delia and got read of the snake he would have never gotten bit. Sykes getting bit by the snake is his bad karma for bringing the snake into the house in the first place. With that being said, Delia sitting under the chinaberry tree symbolizes feminism and