Schweitzer Page 2
27 January 2019
In the short story “Sweat” the character of Delia and Sykes are introduced. Delia is a strong and powerful woman breaking typical gender stereotypes. During this time, it was often expected for the men to make the money in the house and take care of the women. However, Delia is an exception to this. She made the money and was the overall breadwinner of the house. With this being said the overall theme of the story is breaking typical gender stereotypes and to empower women.
The story “Sweat” was written during the Harlem Renaissance a time where women were oppressed and expected to do what their husband desired. During this time also, women did work but it was in the expectation of the men to be the breadwinner of the house. However, Delia places an end to this typical gender stereotype. She was the breadwinner of the house she as we as was the person who funded her and her husband finically. She was the reason as that she and her husband had food on the table and a roof over their heads. Delia was an extremely hard worker who cleaned white family’s clothes for a living. In the story Delia says, “Ah been takin’ washin’ fur fifteen years. Sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat!” ( Hurston 1023). I feel as if this is crucially significant for the time being because of how intense the gender stereotypes were at the time and even now. When one looks at what is deemed as a typical husband and wife situation.They more than likely picture the husband making the money and the wife staying home cooking and cleaning. Overcoming these stereotypes is an extraordinary step toward men and women being treated as equals.
Another reoccurring theme in the short story is women empowerment. Delia is abused by her husband not only verbally but physically an example of this is when Sykes kicks around the clothes Delia had been washing. “He stepped roughly upon the whitest pile of things, kicking then skelter as he crossed the room” ( Hurston 1023). He did this out of spite because he was angry with the fact Delia had brought home the clothes of the white people that she washes. After this moment Delia reacts calmly, picks up the clothes and ask him to stop gett...