Symbolism In Sweat By Zora Neale Hurston

Words: 1394
Pages: 6

Symbolism is one of many important elements in literature that are presented to us in the short story “Sweat” written by Zora Neale Hurston. Symbolism is considered to be something that represents or stands for something else. This short story of an extreme domestic abuse relationship takes place in florida where an African American woman Delia Jones works as a washwoman for white people. Delia Jones lives an abusive relationship married to her husband Sykes Jones. Delia’s life consist of her working hard to bring food, rent, all the essential needs for herself, Sykes, and the house. The short story ends with Sykes killed after being bitten by a rattlesnake. Throughout the story “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston, Delia stumbles upon meanings of evil, power, sin, new beginning, and karma; these symbolic meanings are presented to us in …show more content…
Delia Jones is frightened of snakes, and just when Delia thought she was alone Sykes comes to perturb and terrify her by flicking a whip on her shoulder . Hurston writes “Just then something long, round, limp, and black fell upon her shoulders and slithered to the floor beside her. A great terror took hold on her” (732). This gave Delia the implication that there was a snake near her, which she is highly terrified of. The snake in has many symbolic meanings in this story; One of them being evil. In this story, the snake most certainty exhibits it self as an act of evil; the evil schemes of her husband Sykes towards Delia. In comparison to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, the evil snake is temptation to Eve because she was told by God that she prohibited eating from the forbidden tree. The snake tempts Eve to disobey God. The evil act of the snake causes Eve to sin and eat fruit from the forbidden tree and shares with Adam. Sykes is Delia’s evil snake, and she is deadly terrified of