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Analysis of Hurston's "Sweat"

As we progress into work of Zora Neale Hurston, we will be in constant contact with the context of her writing. When we think of, discuss, and write about her work, we will do so considering her experience and the experience of her African American contemporaries. There are times when Hurston’s work feels like a celebration of negro culture, and other moments where it seems critique. At one moment she will be writing with a clear connection to the ideals of the Harlem Renaissance, and at other times rebelling against them. For this reason, our introduction to Hurston is an examination of the short story “Sweat,” a story that introduces many of the themes that will crop up in Their Eyes Were Watching God.



The writing prompt from Springboard follows:


To what extent is Hurston’s story both a tribute to the lives of ordinary African American people and a story that does not represent the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance? Choose a method of prewriting and then draft your analysis and response to this story. Be sure to:

  • Include a thesis statement that gives direction to your essay.

  • Address the literary elements that you have studied and explain how they enhance the meaning of the text. (This would include things like diction, syntax, allusion, etc -L)

  • Cite textual evidence and give commentary to support your analysis.

  • Use effective transitions.

  • Provide a conclusion that follows from the ideas developed in the story.