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Faculty Mentors

Rob Viau

Abstract

Zora Neale Hurston's short story "Sweat," written in 1926, explores a variety of complex issues within a politically, racially, and sexually charged backdrop. The story of Delia, an African-American laundress, who has been married to an abusive husband for fifteen years, "Sweat" questions roles of women and African-Americans within a social and personal context, and how those roles can be changed through an exploration of self-identity. Within the historical time frame of its writing, "Sweat" brings up an interesting dialogue between oppression and repression of women, as well as an emerging identification of women with their gender and the restrictions imposed by society based on race, sex, and class.

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