Tale As Told By Another Character: Sweat Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Family and Marriage Type: Essay Paper: #54374529 Related Topics: Cask Of Amontillado, Merchant Of Venice, Trail Of Tears, Character
Excerpt from Essay :

Tale as Told by another Character: Sweat - Zora Neale Hurston


The spring came along with its flare of sunny afternoons in Florida on that particulate Sunday afternoon. For a given number of women in the small village populated by the black persons would be thinking of what the family would have for supper. However, for Delia Jones, she was still in bed, thinking of her previous life when she was still young and pretty. Then the thought of her poverty and suffering stricken husband hit her mind, and the trail of cursing and lamentations flowed from her mind; and eventually found their way into verbal words oozing from her mouth like the waters of the spring streams of the Amazon. Sure, this situation was getting to the peak of the humiliation and underpinning of poverty and suffering that she could take.

Delia sat up in her bed of feathers mattress laid on the wooden bed. The feathers mattress was tattered, and a weighty person could feel the hardness of the bed timber beneath prickling the back of the person. It was hard to sleep on this piece of furniture without furniture for long and Delia complained to her husband Sykes until she could complain no more. She pressured him to get another mattress for them to sleep comfortably. However, where was it to come from, given the status of the family? Delia was tired she concluded that her patience was running out and thought of the drastic measure to take to ensure that she got the pleasure-filled life she always dreamt of having from her childhood. She and Sykes were together for ten years, and the situation of Sykes unemployment was getting worse. Yes, Sykes was hardworking, but his hard work never seemed to bear any fruit. Delia could take the humiliation of poverty as she would call it, no more.

She moved to the kitchen, and there was nothing to prepare for super, neither was there any sign of having anything. They had ravished the last of the meal left in the house the previous night and her two children were out playing unaware of the looming crisis in the house. Just then, Sykes appeared at the front of the house, and she could see him walking towards the house through the kitchen room window. He had just a small paper bag in his hand (Hurston 17). Delia waited for him to get to the house, with her sullen face and wrinkling face as she it was her way of showing her despising attitude towards her husband's efforts off late. This taken into account it was a matter of time and strength before she would get the temptation to raise her hands on her husband. Their regular arguments, day in, day out always ended in her favor, as Sykes could not keep up with the pace of her outspoken nature.

"Where the hell have you been all day?" "There is nothing in this house; the kids are out there playing oblivious of the fact that they will not have anything to eat. What do you have in that small piece of paper you carrying there?" Delia burst out immediately Sykes walked in through the door. She would not even utter a word of welcome or greeting to him. Sykes handed her the paper, and all it contained was some flour. On the onset of this, she burst out in her complaining and shouting asking what she would do with just some flour. Sykes suggested that she makes some porridge for her and children to have for the night, in the hope that God would provide for the following day. Sykes always hoped and trusted in the biblical scripture that says that tomorrow is not ours, but the Lord's to worry about. Nonetheless, despite the assurance from him, Delia kept nagging and abusing her husband, calling him demeaning names that caused his ego as a man to come down. However, his humble and quite personality helped him to maintain his cool despite the challenges from his abusive wife. He spent most of his time out in the white people's farms, slavering and working his hunger stricken body off to ensure that he sustained his little family. He was a hardworking...


The time he courted her he owned a bar in the village town from which he made his livelihood. He also had a stable of horses which he used to rent out for cash and number of horse chariots. However, one night, a disagreement broke out when one of the influential whites asked him to sell the bar to him. Sykes refused, and this fueled a series of attacks on Sykes, as the white man used his unorthodox means to pressure Sykes to sell the bar. In the end, Sykes lost his horses to goons sent by the white man to steal them, and eventually the bar was burnt down. Sykes was left with nothing, his pride of small wealth diminished and this marked the beginning of his troubles with his materialistic wife.

Delia's true character manifested the moment she realized that her husband was left with nothing of monetary value to offer her. As Sykes wealth vanished, her love for him also vanished. That was about five years after their wedding, and despite the losses; Sykes was still managing to get them past all their life's challenges, providing food and everything that the family needed. However, the spring was the maturing of the farms time, and there was not much to do in the farms; hence the reason Sykes outings were bearing fewer fruits. In his despair, one night Sykes asked his wife to go out with the other women in the village to do manual jobs to assist him. She responded violently, bursting out and blubbing how she had resigned to the duties of a homemaker, and that she could not work for a white man, or work her beautiful body while she had a man to work for her.

"Today is the day," Delia told herself, and she would pack her things and leave. When Sykes came back that Saturday, he was very overjoyed. His face was shining with a smirking smile that he had not had for a very long time. He called out the moment he reached at the front door to his wife, "Delia my dear!" "Where are you, I have wonderful news for you." However, it was his older child, his daughter who opened the door for him, sobbing in tears. Her little brother, who was about three years old could not fathom the happenings, and as he stood there watching his eight-year-old sister narrate to the father how her mother packed her things and left with another man who came for her that morning when Sykes had left.

Sykes sat down, held his daughter n son, and prayed and thanked God for taking the cancer that was his wife away from him. His dreams and the future was bright once more as he had won the case that had dragged on and on the court over the white man who stole his wealth from him. The judge ordered the white wealthy man to repay him back, and he was wealthy once again. His sweat was repaid.

The follow up essay

In the re-written story, Sweat, it is about Delia and her husband Sykes, who are blessed with two beautiful children, a daughter about eight years old and a son who is three years old. They live in a small village populated by the black people and bordering the white person's estates of farmlands. The family faces challenges as many other families in the village. There is a lot of racism from the whites who do not want to see any of the black people rising in the social class ladder. Additionally, the black men work in the farms of the whites while the women work in the houses of the whites, washing clothes and houses for them. Sweat revolves around Delia, and her husband, to show the modern day effect of unemployment on the family. The changing roles in the society are bringing with them their negative and positive impacts (Ladd & Harlan 26). These are evident from the themes displayed in the story via the characters in the anecdote and the unfolding of the happenings.

The themes in the story include, the racist oppression as depicted, by the way, the white man and the way he treats Sykes, as well as the way the black people work as slaves for a peanut pay in their farms. Another theme is the negative attitude and unsupportive character of the modern woman who refuses to work, taking advantage of the fact that the husband should take care of her and her needs. She elopes with another man as it is the norm today, where the family…

Sources Used in Documents:


Anders Bjorklund, Donna K. Ginther, and Marianne Sundstrom. "Family Structure and Child

Outcomes in the U.S.A. And Sweden." Journal of Population Economics 20.1 (2007):

183. ProQuest. Web. 24 Aug. 2013.

Hurston, Zora N. Novels and Stories. New York, NY: Libr. Of America, 1995. Print.

Cite this Document:

"Tale As Told By Another Character Sweat" (2013, August 24) Retrieved June 30, 2022, from

"Tale As Told By Another Character Sweat" 24 August 2013. Web.30 June. 2022. <

"Tale As Told By Another Character Sweat", 24 August 2013, Accessed.30 June. 2022,

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