The following quote is from Frank Delacorte, a man being interviewed by Arlie Hochschild, and it sets the tone for why this book exists.
I look at myself as pretty much of a traditionalist. It's the way I am inside. I feel the man should be the head of the house. He should have the final say. I don't think he should have the only say; my father was the head but a lot of times my mother got her way. But I feel like this is my role in life, and I dno't see any reason to want to change it.
Hochschild's novel, The Second Shift, is about women who work normal 9-5 jobs during the day, and come home to clean, cook, and child rear at night. The main point of the novel is that men are not faced with this particular burden. Even though the world has changed and women are doing more work than ever before, men continue to be seen as the breadwinners and women as the home-keepers.
Middle-class men often expected their wives to "help" support the family while they themselves expected to "help" at home; and they often supported their wives' work, often thought it was "good for her," and a woman's "right if she wanted it."
In the Delacorte family, Carmen (the wife) needed to work for economic reasons, possibly due to the fact that the family was Hispanic and lower income, and Frank had a harder time finding union work.
Frank did not link his desire to be "the man of the house" with the need to compensate for racial discrimination, a link I sensed in a few other interviews with minority men.
This section from the novel paints a complete picture of the story:
In the history of American fatherhood, there have been roughly three stages, each a response to economic change. In the first, agrarian stage, a father trained and...
(The entire section is 467 words.)