Character analysis of "Sweat"

Essay by mikayla_jorenCollege, UndergraduateB, October 2014

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Mikayla Joren

Mert Gareis

English 1102

24 September 2014

Character Analysis of "Sweat"

In the short story "Sweat" the author Zora Neale Hurston develops the main character Delia Jones from being almost completely submissive in her marriage, to having the ability to stand up against the evil in her life, her husband Sykes.

Throughout Delia's marriage she is constantly abused, verbally and physically, by her husband Sykes. Delia has had to endure the hardship her marriage has put her through, but has gained nothing in return. In the beginning of the story, it is shown that Delia's work is her life. Delia is strongly devoted to her work and her religion. She is a highly respected washwoman in her community, and with her work she has provided the roof over her head and the food needed to survive because Sykes does not work. Sykes has yet to realize that she is the reason he has the essentials needed for living, and does not realize he is messing with the only source of income they have when he is constantly chastising and belittling her about her work.

Sykes, immediately after getting home, "stepped roughly upon the whitest pile of things, kicking them helter-skelter"(564). This is the first time that Zora Neale Hurston shows Delia standing up against Sykes, because it is one thing that he physically abuses her, but he has pushed her over the edge when he messes with her work. Zora describes Delia as "seizing the iron skillet from the stove and striking a defensive pose"(565). This is the first time Delia gets the courage to stand up against Sykes, because she is tired of the way he is treating her. She has put so much effort into making their marriage work, and has received...