Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston

Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston, an interesting short story that discussed the vileness of a physically and mentally abusive relationship between two individuals. This story also attempted to and succeeded in discussing the idea of retribution and karma. I found this story very interesting and it was something that I was able to follow. Something that Zora Neale Hurston does within her stories is be able to take dialogue from the time period, dialogue that for the average individual would be difficult to decipher and read. But for many black Americans this dialogue is exactly what we have grown up hearing, and it adds a sense of relatability to her stories. 

            The relationship between Delia and Sykes can be described as violent, and hateful. On many occasions through this story, he calls Delia names that can be labeled as degrading and hurtful. Even though they have been together for 15 years, you would think that there would be a sense of closeness and love between the two. But unfortunately for those 25 years Sykes has taken all of Delia’s love, and her ambition for their relationship and crushed it. He ridicules her by calling her a nigger woman, saying that she is too skinny, and unlovable, he even takes up with other women. A powerful statement made in this story was that Sykes simply “Made no room for her. [Delia]” However, Sykes did not take away her strength. She understands that she is the sole provider of the home and she has her own business to manage. The strength that we see in Delia, allowed me as the reader to hope that she may see peace and happiness one day.

            A common theme that we discussed this semester is the idea of retaliation or retribution. I knew when reading this story that Delia would soon find her retribution for the cruel and hard treatment she faced from her husband. Especially after he decided to torment her by placing a snake in their home. Sooner rather than later we finally see that his sick ways would be cut to an end after Sykes gets bitten by the snake, and we can assume that he has died. Something that I noticed during this part of the story was the way the sun was coming up, not only to symbolize a new day had arrived, but I also took it as a symbol of a way to say that a new life was beginning for Delia. One that she truly deserved.