Delia Gives Into Evil's Temptation Essay

1527 words - 6 pages

In the short story “Sweat,” Zora Neale Hurston describes the final months of marriage between Delia Jones and her husband Sykes. Delia’s hard work supports both her husband and their small home, but Sykes takes Delia’s earnings and spends as he pleases. He is also known within their Florida town for his extramarital affairs. Delia’s life is one of managed goodness, and Sykes is Delia’s opposite in all ways. In an attempt to drive Delia from their marriage, Sykes brings a large rattlesnake into their home. Although the snake ultimately ends the pair’s marriage, it is not in the manner Sykes had envisioned. Zora Neale Hurston’s tale depicts the classic struggle of good versus evil, but she also illustrates that evil is pervasive and tempting, leading good people to succumb to evil.
Delia Jones is a churchgoing, hardworking woman who spends her entire week, beginning Sunday nights, washing the townspeople’s clothing. For fifteen years, Delia’s hard work has provided for her home, which she plans to have “for her old days” (Hurston 293). She and her husband Sykes are locked in a struggle over the home, which is Delia’s prized possession. Her “sweat…paid for this home,” and she has created life here by planting trees around the home (293). However, Delia’s plan to keep her home is compromised by her husband. Sykes promises his current lover, Bertha, that she “ ‘kin have dat li’l ole house soon’s [he] git dat ‘oman outadere’ ” (296). Hurston creates sympathy for Delia through this struggle. Sykes is the evil within the marriage, and Delia is the good counterpart.
Although Delia is marked by “habitual meekness” (293), she stands up to Sykes one evening. After he tramples her sorted laundry and “step[s] roughly upon the whitest pile of things” (292), Delia threatens Sykes with a skillet. White is often associated with purity, and Hurston illustrates Delia’s purity. Because Hurston writes about the abuse Delia has suffered, the reader is sympathetic to her situation and does not take issue with her action of threatening Sykes. Sykes also tells Delia, “ ‘Ah been hatin’ you fuh years’ ” (298). Hurston does not disclose why Sykes despises Delia, but she reveals that he is also physically abusive to his wife, creating additional sympathy for Delia. This is Delia’s first rebellion against Sykes’ tyranny, and the first Hurston illustrates that Delia may have a dark side that conflicts with her goodness.
Continuing his quest to obtain their home, Sykes turns to psychological tactics and exploits Delia’s fear of snakes. He lays a bullwhip across Delia’s shoulders, and she is paralyzed with fear, telling Sykes, “ ‘Some day Ah’m gointuh drop dead from some of yo’ foolishness’ ” (292). Delia believes that Sykes’ actions will eventually kill her, but she remains strong in her resolve to keep her home and she does not leave. Delia takes solace in her religion and she reminds herself that “ ‘Sykes, like everybody else, is gointer reap his sowing’ ” (294). Hurston is...

Find Another Essay On Delia Gives Into Evil's Temptation

Will sex set us free? Essay

2453 words - 10 pages to her husband. This, again, is a classic demonstration of the socialization of a subjugated societal group. She is unable to free herself or her mind to find a way out of her situation after being socialized or brainwashed into a position of weakness and hopelessness. Delia has children whom she wants only to protect setting another example of the role of women as opposed to that of the husband, who takes little or no caretaking role in the

Acts of Violence and Brutality Illustrated in Jackson's The Lottery and Hurston's Sweat

1622 words - 6 pages violence. Delia and Sykes Jones have been married for fifteen years, most of which has been nothing more than brutality and adultery from Sykes. Two months into their marriage, Sykes beats Delia for the first time. Over the next fifteen years he continues this brutality, mingling it with ridicule and terrorizing acts. As the story progresses, we see Delia becoming stronger and bolder, sort of like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Eventually

Christianity: What is Temptation?

1325 words - 5 pages , where we thought there was only darkness. The hope of a better life and eternal happiness gives us the reason to go on. Nevertheless, despite the fact that hope is inexhaustible, temptation is inevitable, therefore, the Gospel according to Matthew 26:41 states” Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (King James Version). References: Towns, E. (2007). Core Christianity: What

Intercultural Communication: How AFS Thailand Manage and Minimize Cultural Problems Using Communication Strategies

925 words - 4 pages placed in an unfamiliar environment” (Flanja, 2009). What research have you been able to uncover? Delia Flanja defined “intercultural communication” as the way to imply an intercultural knowledge. She also mentioned that nowadays the numbers of people come into our contact are enlarging. Therefore, we need to develop the certain way of communication so that we can respond them effectively (Flanja, 2009). Most of the AFS exchange students

Identity and Self-Esteem: A Look at Self-Verification in African American Literature

3392 words - 14 pages Individuals are born into families, races, cultures, and countries, but have little awareness of their individuality as very young children. The psychological sense of being separate individuals from their families or caretakers appears to be of little importance until they recognize themselves as separate selves. This is true for all human beings in all cultures, but for races or cultures who have been marginalized, having a separate identity

Religious Theme

945 words - 4 pages to resemble the Bible’s message and thoughts on prostitution. To begin with, Adam and Eve, a story in the Bible, resembles “Goblin Market.” Eve is tempted by a snake to eat the tasteful forbidden fruit. Lizzie and Laura from “Goblin Market” both experience this. Both Eve and Laura were ultimately tempted by the fruit and punished. Eve gives into temptation and essentially eats the fruit which leads to her demise. Likewise, Laura also gives in

Beowulf

979 words - 4 pages of those monsters bornOf Cain, murderous creatures banished By God, punished forever for the crime Of Abel's death. The Almighty drove Those demons out, and their exile was bitter, Shut away from men; they split Into a thousand forms of evil-spirits And feinds, goblins, monsters, giants, A brood forever opposing the Lord's Will, and again and again defeated.The Biblical reference in the epic makes the story more modern, and serves to give the

The Pieces that make teh pamerl

1518 words - 7 pages Picture, reading an exciting novel showing its story with hard-hitting, scene by scene visuals and details; a story which not only catches the attention of the reader with distinct ideas, but also with intensifying angles and perspectives. Stories like these are captured in graphic novels, such as V for Vendetta, which intertwine literary elements and meaning into one, creating a perfect story that is fascinating to all readers. In V for

The Inferno and The True Nature of God

1192 words - 5 pages only Son, so that humanities sins would be cleansed and given a chance for salvation. The Devil however, is viewed as the root of temptation, whether it is from influencing Eve into taking a bite of the fruit or from trying to tempt Jesus by offering him absolute power. On the other hand, it is believed that God is unable to do evil or cause it, but is well capable of destroying it such as Noah and the flooding of the Earth. This leads one to

Le Morte D’Arthur

1131 words - 5 pages can slowly lure them toward doing the act. Sir Bedivere’s temptation began when the king ordered him to throw the Excaliber into the lake, but he hesitates and thinks “If I throw this rich sword in the water, thereof shall never come good, but harm and loss” (Thomas 11). Sir Bedivere sees the sword as a treasure and would be a waste to throw it away and is tempted to keep lying when he “returned again and took the sword in his hand; and then

Goblin Market

1048 words - 5 pages or give in and be vicious. Similarly within the context of the poem, Laura, the tainted angel, gives in and falls into temptation, while Lizzie is presented as the innocent woman able to resist and oppress her sexual desires and remain pure. The innocent model of women in the poem, suggest women are consciously aware of their sexual desire. Therefore, Furthermore, from the lens of a feminist, the plot of the poem reveals to the audience of the

Similar Essays

Theme Of Good Vs. Evil In “Sweat”

1227 words - 5 pages , evil character sinks his teeth into him. Sykes calls out for Delia, but she does not come to help him. The next morning, as the sun rose Delia still hears Sykes groaning, and after she wakes up, she enters the house, and Sykes crawls to her, surrendering to Delia, she does nothing. The rising sun represents the triumph of good over evil and the brightness of goodness that shines in the merriment of evil's demise. Last of all, the chinaberry

Women’s Oppression In Hurston’s “Sweat”: The Stereotype Of Women’s Role In Society

2267 words - 9 pages ,” Delia is married to Sykes, and the many years she endures refers to her giving up her body and soul to him. She is unable to speak her mind freely or do what she desires. Her job represents the assertion or her sense of revolution to Sykes’s abuse. It gives her strength and a standing against Sykes. In the short story, the men on Joe Clark’s porch compare women to sugar cane joints to show that there are corrupt men like Sykes that oppress

"Sweat" And Religion Essay

2024 words - 9 pages heaven, which we see when Hurston refers to Gethsemane and the rocks of Calvary. Delia longs for the time when the Lord will deliver her from her abuse and misery and welcome her into the Promised Land upon her crossing the of the “Jurden water” (Hurston 569), and never loses faith that the day will come. This gives her the strength to go on with her day to day life and endure her mistreatment at the hands of her husband knowing that she will one day

Zora Neale Hurston: Reflection In Her Work

1784 words - 8 pages comes around are all developed in the story through the plot, writing style, and symbolism. Delia works all week her only real break is going to church and returns more energized when she returns home. Going to church gives her that extra boost to get her by for the rest of the week. Church is her way of getting through life even though she is dealing with a lot of problems. During this time people found motivation and relief through being devout