Zora Neale Hurston Sweat Analysis

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The Devils Wrath In Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat”, Delia Jones is faced with her biggest fear, snakes! Sykes, Delia’s husband, a malicious, arrogant man, torments his wife constantly. This makes Delia feel as if there is a snake present. Finally, Sykes does bring an actual snake in the house. Therefore, the snake can represent Delia’s protector, sin, death, or devil but it most certainly is a mirrored reflection of Sykes. Sykes routinely shows his lack of respect for Delia. One morning Delia, sorting laundry and wondering where Sykes has gone with her horse, becomes paralyzed by fear when suddenly something “long, round, limp, and black falls upon her shoulders and slithers to the floor beside her.” Again Delia is reminded of what a malicious man Sykes can be. He uses a bullwhip to scare her; she believes it is a snake. Delia…show more content…
Delia being very anxious about being in the house and not knowing where the snake is, she knows if she does not start on the laundry she will be behind for the week. It is not until she starts sorting laundry that she sees the snake and drops everything and runs out of the house where she falls asleep in the hayloft. Not long after falling asleep, she is awoken by the sound of Sykes in his drunken stupor. Banging around in the house, Sykes aware the snake is loose tries to light the lamp so that he can see. As Delia states, “whatever goes over the Devil’s back, is got to come under his belly.” Maybe if Sykes were a faithful man and not so abusive, he would not be in the mess he is in now. Ironically Sykes having brought the snake home to kill Delia leads to his own demise. Therefore, the snake is not only Sykes but also Delia Jones’ protector in Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat”. “Sweat” is a perfect example of the sins that are committed will sooner or later be the death of those committing them. Sykes calls out to God in the end; however it is the Devil who seems to have a hold on
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