Finding A Light in the Darkness: Zora Neale Hurston’s Short Stories College

Much like her main characters, anthropologist and world-renowned author Zora Neale Hurston endeavored the pressures of being molded into a perception of a Black person she was not per se, but she chose not to consciously acknowledge. Hurston knew the continual enmity towards women, specifically Black women in America much like herself, but also the imperceptible beauty they have and are when they overcome. In “Sweat” and “The Gilded Six-Bits,” Hurston composed her works in a manner that perfectly illustrates a Black woman’s experience and Black-folk culture with the use of literary elements that include theme, tone, and style

As an author, Zora Neale Hurston compels her audience to cognize an aspect of the human condition by manipulating the element of theme. In “Sweat,” Hurston presents the idea of good versus evil or virtue versus vice. This story’s protagonist is Delia Jones, a devoted Christian laundress, and the antagonist is her husband Sykes, a domestically violent and extramarital idler. Lying in bed after her usual argument with Sykes, Delia says, “...Whatever goes over the Devil’s back, is got to come under his belly. Sometime or ruther, Sykes, like everybody else, is going to reap his sowing” (Hurston 1034). The...

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