How and why does Delia Jones change throughout the story Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston?

The primary change that Delia Jones undergoes is from wife to widow. This change of status results from her decision to allow her husband to die from a snakebite rather than try to save him. Her final decision grew out of her increasing resolve to regain control of her life. The formerly meek Delia could no longer tolerate her abusive husband, so she allowed circumstances to help end an unbearable situation.

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As Zora Neale Hurston’s story draws to a close, Delia Jones becomes a widow. Her husband, Sykes, dies from a snakebite. After 15 years of marriage to this abusive man, Delia had almost resigned herself to his emotional torment and physical beatings. The combination of Sykes’s flagrant affair with Bertha, whom he threatens to bring into Delia's home, and his tormenting her with a huge rattlesnake prove too much to bear. Along with her faith that Sykes would get what he deserved, Delia had resolved to change her situation. The snake did what she could not.

The story’s third-person narrator initially presents Delia as sad and fearful; they mention Delia’s mournful singing and her terror of snakes, which Sykes exploits. Delia is portrayed as having “thin, stooped shoulders” and being habitually meek. Despite having a “poor little body,” she proves capable of standing up to Sykes’s “strapping hulk.” The moment she seizes a heavy iron skillet is a turning point. The...

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