Delia Symbolism

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IDC 200 11 Emily Leach September 10, 2015 Domestic labor was dominant in the South leading to our characters involvement in an abusive relationship symbolizing clean and dirty, good and evil, and strength through 3 aspects: the laundry, a snake, and the Chinaberry Tree. Many women were involved in abusive relationships during this time period due to slavery abolishment and the nonexistent women’s rights. The symbolism of clean and dirty, good and bad, and white and black take place between the wife and the husband. The setting of the story takes place in a small town in Florida following the freedom of slaves and the time of domestic labor. The protagonist character Delia was like a slave to her husband, Skyes, working hard every day of the week bringing in the only income to their household. Throughout the story there is many symbolisms that are presented to show the amount of contempt Skyes has for Delia. The first aspect is when her work is introduced showing the hard, physical labor that women had to do for a living, for the “white folk.” Delia brings her work inside the house which Skyes despises, and disrupts her…show more content…
Snakes symbolize temptation and evil, both of which attributes Skyes expresses throughout. At first Skyes uses his bull whip to scare Delia into thinking that he put a snake on her back which he gets great amusement from. At the end of the story Skyes actually does catch a rattlesnake and leaves it for Delia in the house. One day when it escapes from its box Delia runs outside to take cover and watches from under a Chinaberry tree, the third symbol, ultimately watching her husband die from under that tree. This tree was specifically planted in the deep south and represented hope and strength, both of which Delia gained after watching her husband swell up and die from the rattlesnake

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