Sweat Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Lowe discusses the framework of comic expressions present in "Sweat."

Hurston's comic gifts, simmering in "Muttsy," came to a boil with Fire!! the magazine issued by the "New Negro" group in 1926. "Sweat," the more gripping of her two contributions, details the grim story of hardworking Delia Jones and her no-good, philandering husband, also a devotee of practical jokes. Hurston cleverly turns this aspect of her villain into a structural device, for the entire story turns on the idea of jokes and joking. She begins with one of Sykes's cruel jokes: he throws his "long, round, limp and black" bullwhip around Delia's shoulders as she sorts the wash she must do for white folk in order to support herself. Sykes's prank, motivated by Delia's abnormal fear of snakes, begins the sexual imagery that makes the story more complex. Is Delia's fear of the...

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This section contains 1,585 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sweat Study Guide
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Gale
Sweat from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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