Sweat Essay

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In the following essay, Seidel analyzes Hurston's narrative technique and the metaphor of the working woman as artist in "Sweat."

Zora Neal Hurston's short story "Sweat" (1926) presents a radical transformation of an oppressed black domestic worker who attempts to envision her work as a work of art. The story is remarkable in Hurston's body of work for its harsh, unrelenting indictment of the economic and personal degradation of marriage in a racist and sexist society.

To accomplish this, "Sweat" functions at one level as a documentary of the economic situation of Eatonville in the early decades of the twentieth century. Hurston uses a naturalistic narrator to comment on the roles of Delia and Sykes Jones as workers as well as marriage partners, but ultimately the story veers away from naturalistic fiction and becomes a modernist rumination on Delia as an artist figure. The story's coherence of theme...

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This section contains 4,764 words
(approx. 12 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sweat Study Guide
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Sweat from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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