Sweat

Themes

Domestic abuse
Sykes abuses Delia physically by beating her, economically by taking her income, and emotionally by putting her down for her body type. The story investigates the psychological effects of an abusive relationship.

Empowerment and Survival

The working life versus the trifling life
The story's title "Sweat" refers to all the physical labor that Delia performs, which contrasts with Sykes' life of leisure and entitlement. The story does not refer to any job or income for Sykes, but he does somehow pay his mistress Bertha's rent, and he and his mistress even go on "stomps" -- probably dates at a nightclub.

This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.