Roselily by Alice Walker is a story of rural African America who wants to escape disgrace and poverty by marrying the man he does not know well. However, her prospects to find happiness in her loveless marriage did not bear any fruit. As the central character, she is one of the women in love and trouble who does not only suffer from financial predicaments but also from an imbalance of power that exists between men and women. On the other hand, Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston is a story of a young woman who works hard to get money while her husband does not work. This makes her husband insecure and starts abusing her just a few months after marriage. Although the two stories have been written at different times by different authors, they relate each other in one or more aspects that become the concern of this paper.
In both stories, one of the themes that they explore is alienation and loneliness. In Sweat, Sykes abuses Della occasionally by physically beating her and financially taking her hard earned money. Sykes does not work and depends solely on the small income of Della after washing. The domestic abuse she experiences makes her lonely and alienated. On the other hand, Roselily feels lonely by getting into a marriage with a person he barely knows. Even at the time of wedding, she is filled with doubt as she has no connection with the Muslim culture. The only person she gets attached to is her dead mother that could not assist her at that time.
Both stories have the husband and the wife as the main characters. In Roselily, the man is not named. However, he is a Black Muslim man that resides from Chicago. He is ready to take Roselily with her children after the wedding remark. In Sweat, the main characters are the husband and the wife. Sykes is the husband who physically and mentally abuses her wife while Della is the woman who works hard to earn money. Therefore, in both cases, the main characters are the couples.
In both cases, the stories depict the hard-working roles in the society as a major theme. Della works as a washerwoman to earn a livelihood. While she does this, her husband does not work, and she provides for both of them. On the other hand, Roselily works for long hours in the sewing factory, and she still goes back to the small village that her family has lived in for several generations to save money.
One of the differences that can be depicted from the two stories is the dissimilar roles of the husband. In Sweat, Sykes, the husband is a stereotypical abusive man who physically and mentally mistreats the wife. He takes the wifes salary after being out of a job for about three months and uses that money to pay rent for another woman. On the other hand, in Roselily, the man promises them happiness and proves that by having a wedding. He takes Roselily with her children.
Another different that exists in these stories is change and transformation. While Roselily is that woman, who is seeking change and transformation, Della in is a woman who has been changed and knows what she wants in life. This is the sole reason as why Della goes to work while the husband does not. Roselily is unwed and needs a better life to improve her life.
Following the discussion within, the stories have substantive differences and similarities that make them unique. One of the similarities is that they both explore the theme of alienation and loneliness. On top of having the wife and husband as the primary characters in both stories, they also depict the hard work of women in the society. However, they all have differences. I both stories the roles of a husband are dissimilar.
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