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Religious Symbolism In Sweat Essay

1001 words - 5 pages

“Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston is filled with many religious symbolism. Good versus evil plays a large role in the development of Delia and Skype Jones, as characters. The story is about Delia, an African American woman who is a washwoman for whites. Delia consistently looks to her religion for guidance and support as she endures the many hardships that she faces because, which are caused by her abusive husband and unfaithful husband, Sykes. Delia and Sykes Jones is a couple that have opposite moral values, but yet they are tied together through marital vows, that no longer have much importance or value.
Delia Jones is portrayed as the Protagonist and a very modest woman of weakness who ...view middle of the document...

There were two instances in the story when Sykes decides to scare Delia; the first instance is when he rubs the whip on Delia and makes her think its and actual snake, the other instance is when Sykes decides to place a box outside the front door with a rattle snake inside. Since Sykes is the one creating these scare tactics to Delia, he can also be seen as a symbol of evil, which he becomes the evil antagonist of the story. These two instances could also be seen in the religious aspect with Adam and Eve.
Another symbol that was present in the story was the dark grey sky. The dark grey sky symbolically means evil, remorse, and sadness. The dark grey sky came about when the snake Sykes used to scare Delia with, bites and kills him. While Sykes was dying, he was now feeling remorse for all his evil doings that he has done to Delia, so we think because he was calling out for her after the snake had bitten him. As the sky clears the story brings about another last symbol.
Eventually, at the end of the story is when the reader can really see the Good vs. Evil. Sykes soon begins to “reap is sowing”(par26), when he comes home and is killed by the snake, the one thing that he had used to scare Delia with so bad that she would leave, or die even. As Sykes is dying the sky begins to clear and the sun begins to rise. The clear, light sky and the sun represents freedom, purity, and peace, and the clear sky can also represent the Delia’s character as well as the white clothes that were mentioned in the beginning of the story.
In all the symbols that were present in the story, the most important symbol was Delia’s sweat. “Delia’s work-worn knees crawled over the earth in Gethsemane and up to the rocks of Calvary ...

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