Discuss Delia's character dynamics in Sweat. Given her unfortunate marriage, was her bravery a newfound strength or had she always been a fighter?
I believe that Delia has always been a fighter. For fourteen of the fifteen years of their marriage, Sykes has beaten his wife, but still she stayed, even though she was supporting him. If her work taking in laundry has enabled her to keep her house, it's safe to assume she could have survived without Sykes in the house.
Delia is a good business woman. She works hard, and she plans ahead to make the best use of her time to get her work done. She has a steady business which she has built up over time. The only thing she fears is snakes; she has even learned not to fear Sykes, even though he treats her more horribly as time goes by. He even brings his woman around.
If Delia were not a strong woman, I don't think she could have held on to the things that matter to her: first, her home, and next her business which enables her to keep her home.
Sykes is a coward, but Delia is a strong woman, and it would appear that though it has taken most of her married life, she has learned life's lessons the hard way and is a survivor.