Faith Can Conquer All

Faith Can Conquer All
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 Sydney’s 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
Hurston’s short story, “Sweat.” The female character, Delia, presents her faith in different ways to
gain victory by overcoming her heartless husband. Delia, in Zora Hurston’s story “Sweat,” uses
blind faith, tolerance, and courage to demonstrate her confidence in God which always leads to
Delia’s 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 Delia’s freedom from her husband’s 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
husband’s violence. This quote is great foreshadowing of what will come at the end of the
story...Syke’s unlucky encounter with the snake. God in fact does give Syke what he deserves in
the end, so Delia’s blind faith is in fact truth.
Delia also displays her reliance in God through her unfaltering tolerance. Tolerance is an
important factor in Delia’s life since she deals with her husband’s constant cheating. Her tolerance
with Syke’s arrogant affair directly confirms Delia’s belief that God will take care of his
wrongdoings. Delia reflects upon her marriage which has been full of Syke’s’ 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 husband’s 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 Syke’s cruel actions toward her job as a washwoman,
which she takes great pride in: “But she was a washwoman, and