Delia's Trek Toward Freedom College

Hurston’s Sweat is a short story that represents not only the constraints of a racially divided society but also, and more notably the oppression of women in a patriarchal society. Delia is a microcosm for women of the time, physically inferior, meek at times, but irrepressible no matter how demeaned she feels. Sweat as a feminist text delves into ideas of intersectionality, the oppression of women and African Americans, and presents an uplifting narrative of a way towards freedom. Delia is a resilient character, one who must overcome the abusive nature of her husband and the fears that belittle her existence to that of a victim. Hurston uses this text as a symbolic way of portraying freedom, the snake represents both masculinity, as it is a phallic symbol, and it represents the power that Sykes holds over Delia, sweat to Delia is not only the result of her physical labor, it is the source of her power, as work gives her the ability to obtain independence and take back control from her physically superior husband.

Early on in the narrative it becomes evident that through Delia’s physical body she manifests her authority and her contrasting repression. While this notion is vital to the story, it also becomes clear that...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 729 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4247 literature essays, 1408 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in