Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 410
Characters of The Second Shift include the people that Arlie Hochschild interviews and cites in the book, which looks at working parents and how they cope with the responsibilities of having a family while maintaining a career.
Ann Myerson is one of the women that Hochschild interviews. She works but does not feel satisfied by her career. Those feelings make her unhappy because her husband does get happiness and satisfaction from his career. It makes her feel bad that she cannot get those same feelings at work. She is married to a man named Robert. When Robert takes on roles in the second shift—like cooking dinner—Ann worries that she's keeping him from doing his actual job and putting too much pressure on him.
Nancy Holt, another woman interviewed by Hochschild, grew up in a household with a mother who was submissive to her partner. Holt worried that she could be the same way in her marriage. To avoid that, she worked hard to make sure that her husband also contributed to things in the household after work. She is a social worker. Hochschild discovers that Nancy is the one putting in the most work on the second shift.
Evan Holt is Nancy's husband. Eventually, both Evan and Nancy come to believe that they share the amount of housework equally. They have a son named Joey. Evan is a furniture warehouse salesman. As Hochschild observes them, she notices that Evan spends much less time with Joey, which makes it more difficult for Evan to comfort Joey.
Dorothy Sims is a personnel director that Hochschild interviewed. She was married to a man named Dan, who sold refrigerators. They have a son named Timothy. Hochschild says that they shared the work equally both in the household and in taking care of their son. As Hochschild observed them, it became clear that they did not share the tasks as equally as the couple originally thought.
Frank and Carmen Delacorte are a couple who both want a traditional family. However, financial concerns require Carmen to work and that makes the second shift work too difficult for her to cope with on her own, despite her desire to be a housewife and mother. She convinces Frank to pitch in by pretending she is weaker than she is. She will not learn to drive a car and claims that he performs certain tasks better than she does so that he will do them for her.