Blood Sweat and Tears

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Date Submitted: 09/19/2011 03:20 PM

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MaQuita Poplar

Latoya Bogard

EN 2203-04

28 September 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Life has its ups and downs, and a marriage is no exception. Some people get married thinking it will not be hard to maintain a good marriage, but most of the time it does not work out that way. Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat” is a prime example of the tests God will put us through to make us stronger. In this short story, Delia was a hard-working, meek, and faithful, Christian woman who had to put up with her abusive, lazy, arrogant, and unfaithful husband, Sykes. Hurston wrote this story to illustrate the theme of good versus evil, and to stress the importance of having faith during tough times. The question is “Will God put more on us than we can bear?”

In “Sweat”, Delia is a washwoman for the white people of Winter Park. Sykes does not respect Delia’s job, although she is the breadwinner in the household. Late one Sunday night, Sykes comes home determined to start an argument with Delia about washing clothes in their home. Sykes says, “Ah done tole you time and again to keep them white folks’ clothes outa dis house” (Hurston 530). Sykes does not seem to care that if it was not for the white folks’, neither he nor Delia would have a place to stay or food to eat. Delia even tells him that when she says, “Mah tub of suds is filled yo’ belly with vittles more times than yo’ hands is filled it. Mah sweat is done paid for this house and Ah reckon Ah kin keep on sweatin’ in it” (Hurston 531). Delia’s sweat is symbolic of the pride she takes in for all of her hard work, which keeps a roof over her head.

The role of good and evil in “Sweat” is significant in getting the reader to understand what some people have to go through to become stronger. For instance, Sykes openly cheats on Delia with a heavy black woman named Bertha. Marriage is a sacred union between two people that are supposed to love each other, so cheating is unacceptable. However, Delia endures Sykes cheating and...