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For the past week, people all over the world have had their eyes on the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Along with the many different Olympic sports, there are many different winners...of all shapes and sizes. However, it is not the different physical appearances of these athletes that are interesting, but the different styles of winning. Some athletes receive their gold and proclaim their superiority. Others win gold and put people down in the midst of their victory, such as Svetlana Khorkina. This Russian gymnast won a gold medal in individual competition, but in her first interview condemned Sydneys Olympic organization, whom she felt was responsible for the error in vault height.
And then finally there are other athletes who win with modesty and thank those that helped them along the way. Laura Wilkinson is an American platform diver who recently won a gold medal in just this way. Not only did she thank those who helped her achieve success, but she thanked God, whom she felt was responsible for her win. After realizing she won the gold, Wilkinson said, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Her faith in God won her a gold medal. Similar unfaltering faith is displayed in Hurstons short story, Sweat. The female character, Delia, presents her faith in different ways to gain victory by overcoming her heartless husband. Delia, in Zora Hurstons story Sweat, uses blind faith, tolerance, and courage to demonstrate her confidence in God which always leads to Delias first, most impressive confirmation of reliance on God, is her blind faith which steers the way to final independence from her husband.
Delia is a very religious person, which in itself proves her assurance in God. She drives her pony four miles to the church every Sunday rain or shine to sing her praises to God. On one occasion, Delia stays all evening at church and continues to sing all the way home: Jurden water, black an col Chills de body, not de soul An Ah wantah cross Jurden in uh calm time. (pg. 413) This particular song is actually a literary allusion to the river Jordan in Palestine which signifies deliverance, symbolizing Delias freedom from her husbands cruelty at the end of the story. Delia also shows blind faith at a moment of weakness.
In this instance, Delia is hiding in the barn terrified of the rattlesnake which had been let loose in the house. Many people during a moment of weakness would not easily gain comfort by faith, but Delia relinquishes her fears to God and trusts that She would take care of the rest. Delia says, Well, Ah done de bes Ah could. If things aint right, Gawd knows taint mah fault. And finally, Delia blindly proves her beliefs in God when she lets Syke beat on her repeatedly. In another allusion, Delia says, Syke, like everyone else, is gointer reap his sowing.
(pg. 409) She wants to leave it to God to help her conquer her husbands violence. This quote is great foreshadowing of what will come at the end of the story...Sykes unlucky encounter with the snake. God in fact does give Syke what he deserves in the end, so Delias blind faith is in fact truth. Delia also displays her reliance in God through her unfaltering tolerance. Tolerance is an important factor in Delias life since she deals with her husbands constant cheating.
Her tolerance with Sykes arrogant affair directly confirms Delias belief that God will take care of his wrongdoings. Delia reflects upon her marriage which has been full of Sykes other women: Too late now to hope for love, even if it were not Bertha it would be someone else. (pg. 409) By continuing to have faith that God will set Syke straight in the end, Delia handles her cheating husband unlike most women would. In fact, Delia is so tolerant that she avoids situations where she could see her husband and his woman in order to be blind and deaf. (pg.
411) Delia also trusts her faith as she is tolerant of all of her husbands harsh actions including his physical abuse to her. It takes a strong spiritual person like Delia to believe that a Higher Power will protect her from physical abuse. Delia also tolerates Sykes cruel actions toward her job as a washwoman, which she takes great pride in: But she was a washwoman, and Monday morning meant a great deal to her. (pg. 407) Delia lives with his constant verbal abuse about her job as well as the physical dirtying of her previously washed laundry. Only faith could provoke someone to tolerate Finally, Delias fortitude in dealing with her husband exemplifies her remarkable faith and leads to her freedom from her husband . Courage sparked by faith is the strongest, and Delia definitely possesses such when standing up for herself to her abusive husband Syke.
In the instance when Syke literally threatens Delias well being she has the courage to respond to him, She was on her feet, her poor little body, her bare knuckly hands bravely defying the strapping hulk before her. (pg. 408) This inner strength and the Higher Power which leads to the courageous response is one in the same for Delia. If she had not had faith that God is behind her she would not have spoken. More courageous efforts by Delia are made to save her marriage, a marriage she is even struggling to survive: Delia had attempted a timid friendliness, but she was repulsed each time. It was plain that the breaches must remain agape.
(pg. 412) The metaphor expresses the helplessness of the marriage despite Delias courageous efforts to try. Delia has faith that, even after this let down, things will work out because God will take care of her. Delia gets more and more courage from her Almighty and becomes successfully defiant with her violent husband. In a dialect that reflects the south, Delia alludes to the bible yet another time, My cup is done run ovah. Delia said this with no signs of fear and Syke departed from the house... (pg.
413) And finally, the most important act of faith through courage is when she hears Syke calling but doesnt respond. She believes things happen as Gods will and doesnt respond for that reason. Sykes harsh medicine has been thrown back at him two-fold, as Delias strong faith predicted. Delia has overcome her internal conflict of standing up for herself to her husband, and ultimately is rewarded for her faith by the death of Syke in the end...as faith always leads to In the end, all Delias virtues of faith come together to conquer her major difficulties dealing with Syke . In fact, her virtues of blind faith, tolerance, and courage help her conquer Syke altogether with his unfortunate death. Because Delia believes that God will somehow make things better for her, things were made better. Like Syke, nobody wants to end up in a deadly situation, but Syke doesnt have faith enough to be saved from his dire clash with the snake. Perhaps if he had possessed stronger beliefs in a Higher Power, things would have been different for him. Maybe Delia would have felt it more courageous to go and help Syke, instead of leaving him alone. However, it is Delia who has the ongoing confidence in God, and it is Delia who Bibliography:.
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