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Flashcards in Sweat Deck (23):
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Author's name

Zora Neale Hurston

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when was it published?

1926

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question #1
what kind of man is Sykes?

Extremely arrogant
- tells Bertha she can buy anything because he owns the town
- he is only one in town who can drive a car (possibly a chauffeur before he lost his job)
- he's a self proclaimed snake charmer (actually snake ingested too many frogs so it made it lethargic and slow. Made it easy too catch)

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what kind of man is Sykes?

1. cruel/ abusive
2. womanizer/ adulterer
3. user
4. lazy/ coward
5. hypocrite

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question #1 continued...
how is Sykes cruel/abusive?


- throws a bull whip across Delia's shoulder to mess with her head
- physically abusive: beat her up 2 months after married
- verbally abuses her by saying she's too skinny and no one wants her

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question #1 continued...
how is Sykes a womanizer/ adulterer?

- flaunts Bertha around town
- Bertha bold to come to house (she even calls out for Sykes in front of the house)

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question #1 cont...
how is Sykes a User?

- financially supported by Delia
- Sykes supports Bertha via taking Delia's hard working money she earns

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question #1 continued...
how is Sykes lazy?

- he doesn't work

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question #1 cont...
how is Sykes a Coward?

-when Delia finally stands up for herself he walks out
- beats up on Delia's ragged "defenseless" pony that she purchased
- uses a bull whip on pony who doesn't need it because Delia stated she's never had to use it ever in the past
- Sykes will beat up on anything that appears defenseless

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question #1 cont...
how is Sykes a Hypocrite?

- Sykes says Delia is a hypocrite because she works day after Sabbath (day of rest)
- commits adultery when it's a sin

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Why does he do these things (2 reasons Sykes does this to Delia)?

1. To frustrate her to leave him
2. Hoping snake will bite and kill her so Bertha can move into the house

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Question #1 cont...
Describe the kind of relationship that he has w/ Delia. Is their relationship healthy or destructive? Why?

Destructive marriage because he tortures him and she puts up with him

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question 2
what kind of woman is Delia?

- hardworking and independent: bought her own house and horse
- patient: good Christian woman who switched churches to avoid facing his infidelity with Bertha
- has common sense/street smart: maintains a steady job

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Question 2b
why does she put up with Sykes?

- she puts up with him because she would not put up with divorce
- she wouldn't leave because house is hers that she bought
- she planted flowers etc
- she's familiar w/ Sykes and can handle him
- He doesn't leave because Delia supports him
- During 1926 by society's standards its his house because he is the man of the house

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question 2 c
What are Delia's fears? how does Sykes provoke her?

- deathly afraid of snakes and fears anything that resembles a snake (bull whip, earthworms, strings)
- fears devils wrath: Sykes not living right
- He provokes her by throwing bull whip over her shoulder and bringing a snake to the house to torture her

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question 3
what are the 6 foreshadowing moments throughout the story that sets the reader up for the ending?

1. he says he's a self proclaimed snake charmer but gets bit at the end by the snake
2. he threw a bull whip over her shoulder and narr. says she has a fear of snakes
- this fear paralyzed her that she couldn't move to help Sykes in the end
3. Men on porch say they want to kill Sykes
- say he's not worth a bullet to kill him
- foreshadows his death
4. Delia says whatever he does, he will reap what he sows in the end. "whatever goes over the devils back is got to come under his belly. some time or another, Sykes gonna reap his sowing."
5. Sykes brings home a snake to scare her knowing she is deathly afraid of snakes
--showing someone will eventually get bit
6. Delia uses the a match to light the lamp after she hears snake's tummy rumble
- light is blown out when she's running out of house quickly when snake rattles
--the light going out foreshadows Sykes death
--he used the last match for Bertha's cigarette

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question 4
how do the men on Joe Clark's porch further readers' understanding of Delia and Sykes and of the relationship between the two?

They know Delia and Sykes personally
1. she's up and down that St. like clockwork
2. she was once healthy but now skinny from all pain Sykes put her through
3. Sykes likes his women big. he hates skinny women
4. Walter Thomas would have married Delia if Sykes didn't get to her first.
5. Delia has always been a good Christian woman
6. Sykes beaten her up so bad he would have killed 3 women already
7. she looks older than she is. Sykes wore her down
8. Men don't like Sykes or Bertha
-- at one point skyes and bertha come walking up and the men stop talking and put away the watermelon they just bought, and leave but soon return as soon as they leave
9. before they were married Sykes tried to woo her
- used to walk her home
- he saw an opportunity & took it before anyone else did
--she was a high commodity because she was independent and worked
10. one man said Sykes bought another man's wife pecans picked from Delia's tree.
- woman told him to bring those pecans back to Delia. They were from her hardworking sweat

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question 5
is it ironic that Sykes is the one who dies at the end? why not?

a. it is ironic that he brought snake to kill Delia to bring harm to her
- killed by his own doing

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question 5 b
What does snake symbolize or represent in the story?

snake symbolizes
- death, the devil, manipulative--just like Sykes
- fear
- freedom and protection: when snakes eat frogs it rattles (giving signals her warning)
she is warned by the rattle and runs to safety

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question 6
To what extent is Sykes responsible for his death?

a. it was ultimately Sykes fault because
1. he brought snake home
2. he goes into house that he brought the snake to
3. he destroyed the soap box before he knew it was empty
4. When he realizes snake he looks for a match but there was none. he used the last match for Bertha's cigarette
5. he can't tell where the snake is because he's making too much noise.

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question 6 b
to what extent is Delia responsible?

Delia is not responsible because
1. when she hears snake rattle she runs out of house to hayloft where she falls asleep then is awakened by Sykes. He is drunk and loud.
2. she comes to the window of the barn
- he calls her out for help
3. snake bites him and his neck and eye are swollen he can only see out of one eye.
he can see her looking at him out of his one eye
4. Narrator tells us she's paralyzed with fear of snakes describing that she could not move because her legs went flabby.


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question 6 c
do you think Delia's inaction at the end of story is immoral?

No it was not immoral because the nearest doctor was in Orlando and it would be too late by the time they arrived there.
- even if they got there in time she would not have been given good meds. in that time period only wealthy white people got the good meds.

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question 6d
do you think she consciously chose to ignore Sykes plea for help? why?

she consciously felt bad for him but was too paralyzed with fear of the snake she could not move