Do you believe in Karma? Many people do. Karma is the believe that what you give out is what you will get back in life. In Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat,” the main character, Delia is beaten and mistreated her entire life by her husband. This is an ironic piece of literature and although Delia has dealt with this suffering for so long, she remains kind and generous toward her hateful husband, Sykes. Throughout this short story, irony, foreshadowing and diction help to show that good always overcomes evil.
The details in this story help to show us that Delia is good in this story and Sykes represents evil and will eventually have a downfall. The entire town knows that Sykes is disrespectful and cheats and has beaten Delia many times.
When Delia sees Sykes in town with his new lover “It pleased him for Delia to see.” This shows how cruel he is and the fact that he enjoys his wife seeing him cheat just enforces that he will get what he deserves. After Sykes and Delia get in a huge fight and Delia stands up for herself “Delia had attempted a timid friendliness, but she was repulsed each time,” by Sykes. This shows how even after all that hate, Delia still tries to be friendly to Sykes. The reader can tell that Delia is a superior being to Sykes and she will eventually be rewarded for all her good.
There is much foreshadowing in this story. In the beginning of the story, Sykes throws a whip at Delia and it scares her and she exclaims “Sykes, what you throw dat whip on me like dat? You know it would skeer me–looks just like a snake , an’ you knows how skeered Ah is of snakes.”
This is foreshadowing for the end of the story because a snake is what ends up killing Sykes. Later in the story after Sykes walks out on her, Delia says that Sykes “is gointer reap his sowing,” This foreshadows Sykes death and that all of his evil he has given out will eventually come back to get him. The foreshadowing in this story all points to Delia getting retribution and Sykes getting what he deserves.
Irony plays a huge part in this story. In the end of the story, Sykes puts a huge rattlesnake on Delia’s laundry basket in hope that it will make her leave. She runs away and sits in the barn. The snake represents evil in the bible in the story of Adam and Eve.
This is ironic because Sykes represents evil in this story and he brings a snake in. In the end of the story the snake bites Sykes and she “heard a cry that might have come from a maddened chimpanzee,” Sykes is killed by his own doing. The irony in this story helps to bring out the theme that evil will always lose to the power of good.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat,” Delia is a character that represents genuine kindness and good, while her husband who beats her and is rude represents evil. The foreshadowing, irony and details in this story all suggest that Delia’s good will overpower the evil of her husband. As Charles Dickens said “Real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.”
Courtney from Study Moose
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