The main characters in Sweat are Tracey, Cynthia, Jason, and Chris.
- Tracey is a white forty-year-old factory worker who becomes jealous when her close friend Cynthia receives a promotion; the factory plans to cut Tracey’s wages.
- Cynthia is an African American factory worker at the plant and friends with Tracey and Jessie. She receives a promotion and becomes a manager, while her son is laid off and her friends’ wages cut.
- Jason and Chris are friends and the sons of Tracey and Cynthia. They lose their jobs at the factory, get in a fight at the bar, and are incarcerated.
The characters in Sweat by Lynn Nottage are blue-collar Americans in the town of Reading, Pennsylvania.
Tracey is White, in her forties, and of German descent. She has been working at Olstead's factory for over twenty years, following her father and grandfather. She is opinionated and proud of the work her family has done. She is best friends with Cynthia until she feels betrayed by Cynthia after her promotion. She claims to not care about race but sometimes makes racially insensitive comments. She is Jason's mother.
Cynthia has been working at the plant as long as Tracey. She is African-American and in her forties. She is ambitious and applies for the promotion that moves her up to a managerial position. This puts Cynthia in a difficult spot when management wants to cut wages, and Cynthia finds herself pitted against her friends.
Jessie is White and friends with Tracey and Cynthia. She struggles with alcohol addiction, always drinking much more than the others at the bar. When she was young, she wanted to travel the world, but she ended up getting a job at the plant and has never left.
Jason is Tracey's son. He is in his twenties. He is outgoing and often teases his best friend, Chris. His anger at losing his job at the factory causes him to get into a fight with violent consequences. In jail, Jason becomes a White supremacist.
Chris is Cynthia's son and Jason's friend. He is in his twenties. He works at the factory but has aspirations to go to college. He is saving up money for school when the strike happens, and he becomes involved in a fight with...
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