Zora Neale Hurston Writing Styles in Sweat

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Biblical Allusion

Hurston makes a number of allusions to the Bible in "Sweat" that underscore her authorial intentions. Perhaps the most important is the allusion to the Garden of Eden, with the serpent taking on its role of temptation (common to the Western Christian interpretation of the story ofEden) and giving Delia the opportunity to allow for her husband's death. Delia's character may not seem much like Eve's, but Delia does obtain from the serpent the forbidden knowledge of how to disregard convention and subvert Christian morality.

The implications of this allusion are unclear, however. Hurston might be condemning Delia's complicity with the serpent, or she might be praising her ability to bend the rules of Christian morality so that Sykes is punished by his own evil device—an idea Delia expresses as "whatever goes over the Devil's back, is got to come under his belly." This reference to...

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This section contains 545 words
(approx. 2 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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