Expository Essay: “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hursto

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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?Sweat? is a story that makes it?s readers take the side of the female main character who is ?Delia Jones?, a black woman who seems to be in her late thirties to early forties. Going further into the story anyone with a feeling of compassion for this woman would hope that she would somehow leave her verbally, mentally and physically abusive husband who is ?Sykes?. My thesis of this paper is to analysis the story written by the author Zora Neale Hurston. The characteristics of the two main characters in the short story will be described according to how the author wants her readers to visualize and interpret their actions.

?Delia Jones? is a black woman (we can assume she is black because her husband ?Sykes? calls her ?a aggravatin? nigger woman?; Madden, p.1049) who seems to be in her late thirties to early forties. From the dialect that is used from Hurston in her story, the educational background of ?Delia? is minimal if none.

?Delia? is described by Hurston as a thin woman, with knotty, muscled limbs and knuckly hands who works hard at washing ?white people?s? clothes to make a living. Her values are strong because she works hard to pay all the bills. Hurston gave her readers the impression that ?Sykes? only blew his paychecks, instead of contributing towards the household expenses. The phrase ?Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat!?(Madden, p. 1050) leads Hurston?s attempt to make her audience believe that ?Delia? is in a very unhappy marriage. ?Delia? seems to take the mental and verbal abusive of her husband in an almost unbelievable calm approach. She even at times seems to provoke her husband?s anger by getting in the ?last word?. It is apparent that ?Delia? is not afraid...