Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Zora Neale Hurston – Sweat!

What I was struck by in this story was the use of the vernacular dialogue juxtaposed with standard language during the narrative. I most enjoyed coming across the large and strange terms that seemed so out of place in the story and trying to determine what they were meant to express. My favorite of these terms was “eppizudicks.” Obviously some sort of heat-borne fatigue, cured only by chilled watermelon in the summer, I believe that I may have had several cases myself…maybe I should see a doctor…or a that guy that sells melons out of his truck in front of Los Compadres.
Another term that I thoroughly enjoyed was “asterperious” which, according to ever-reliable internet is portraying a superior attitude from a subordinate position. This makes sense in the context of the story, but it is still indecipherable that it is Syke who says it. I feel that this one word, as spoken by Syke, really encapsulates the relationship between him and Delia: Syke’s feelings of inferiority as a man trying to overpower his wife by expressing himself in an over-the-top manner.
Aside from the language, I also enjoyed the roles of the characters, with Delia as the strong, independent woman bearing the burden for the family under the oppression of her husband. Reading this story reminded me of an interesting movie I once saw from New Zealand (no…not that one). The film was called Once Were Warriors and was about the family of a woman descended from the Maori and her husband of slave ancestry. The movie was ultimately about redemption through ancestry; however it featured many similarly unpleasant familial strife (and a whole lot more). At any rate, I love stories where people get what they deserve. Delia certainly deserved to be free of that man.

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