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Women’s Character in Hurston’s “Sweat” and Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” Essay

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Updated: Nov 8th, 2021

The embodiment of women’s character is widely used in the works of outstanding authors. They describe in detail all the female sufferings and struggle, persistence, and resistance to the negative environmental factors connected with social inequality and prejudices against weak gender. To illustrate these facts one can analyze such books as “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston and “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner.

Zora Neale Hurston is known as a short story writer and the author of the masterpiece called “Sweet”. This story tells about Afro-American woman Delia Jones who was constantly struggling against society and her husband. This story is rich in moral and religious symbolic features. The events take place in Deep South; they closely interact with a woman’s belief in God, her trust in her inner voice, and her hope for the careless future. The symbolic characteristic of Delia Jones and her husband Sykes shows that they are two completely opposite people with different moral values. The protagonist of the story is a very hard-working, intelligent, and strong-willed woman with her own view of life, unique lively faith, and saintly virtue. To describe her husband means to show the opposite character. Sykes is presented as a physically strong man, who had never believed in anything and provided his wife with no support.

The symbolism of religious characters is widely presented in this story. All the things mentioned in this story are symbolic in a way. The white dress of Delia is described to show the inner character and soul of the woman. The presence of religious mood influences the behavior of Delia Jones. Only her faith helps in overcoming all the difficulties of life with Sykes Jones, to contradict him and struggle with his interests. He seems to be the embodiment of evil; his symbolic character is shown by the description of the “snake”. The author tried to compare him with this creature; the interior of the snake completely coincides with Sykes, who always tried to frighten his wife and hurt her. The contradiction of good and evil is provided by the description of the main story characters. The symbolic nature ends the story with the sunrise. By this, the author stated the victory of the good and saint character of Delia Jones. Sykes’ death brings relaxation and the feeling of a happy and troubled future.

The related topic is raised in “A Rose for Emily”, written by William Faulkner. The protagonist of this work is Emily Grierson who devoted her present life to the past and lived only by memories. The theme of the story is to present the character of a “lady” and her behavior in society, her actions, and justifications for them. She is an offender because she killed Homer Barron; it is difficult to explain the motive simply because no one knew the mysterious character of the so-called “lady”. She acts against the rules of society, she just rejects them and strives for satisfying her needs and interests. Emily refuses to pay taxes as it was of no importance, she does not want to be abandoned by Homer Barron and the only way out she finds is to kill him in order to save their relations and feelings. The author managed to symbolize the strong-willingness and persistence of the female character. The role Emily played in her life was the figure of a modern “lady” who never considered public opinion and acted according to her own will. The symbol of the rose is embodied in Emily who likes this wonderful and innocent flower should struggle with society in order to be protected from the changing environment.

Both the authors managed to cover the same theme of providing strong features to a weak person. Delia and Emily wanted just to prove to the public that they also have the right to live a full life without any limitations. They were strong enough to stand their ground and act in a way they consider to be appropriate. The description of brave women in society shows the results of social development. Nowadays women are not to struggle in order to be realized and heard by the surrounding people. The authors reflected successfully the sufferings and difficult fate of Afro-American women and managed to represent their “victory” among unfairness and prejudices.

References

Gwynn, R. S. A pocket Anthology (Penguin academic series), New York, 2004.

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"Women's Character in Hurston's "Sweat" and Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"." IvyPanda, 8 Nov. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/womens-character-in-hurstons-sweat-and-faulkners-a-rose-for-emily/.

1. IvyPanda. "Women's Character in Hurston's "Sweat" and Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"." November 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/womens-character-in-hurstons-sweat-and-faulkners-a-rose-for-emily/.


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IvyPanda. "Women's Character in Hurston's "Sweat" and Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"." November 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/womens-character-in-hurstons-sweat-and-faulkners-a-rose-for-emily/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Women's Character in Hurston's "Sweat" and Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"." November 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/womens-character-in-hurstons-sweat-and-faulkners-a-rose-for-emily/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Women's Character in Hurston's "Sweat" and Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"'. 8 November.

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