Cate Kennedy

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The protagonist of the story, Liz is a new mother who returns to work at her office 18 months after giving birth to her son, Daniel. She feels extremely anxious and guilty about leaving… read analysis of Liz


Liz’s son. Daniel is 18 months old when Liz drops him off at childcare for the first time. He is a calm baby and doesn’t appear to be fussy or unhappy, despite his mother’s… read analysis of Daniel

Julie, Stella, and Caroline

Liz’s female coworkers. They attempt to be supportive when she returns to the office after her maternity leave but ultimately project their own experiences onto her instead of listening. They each reminisce about the… read analysis of Julie, Stella, and Caroline


Liz’s boss. In the morning, he reminds her of a meeting they have to attend and says, “See, got to crack the whip now. Got to get you back into gear again.” Frank is… read analysis of Frank

Tim and Dave

Liz’s male coworkers. They exchange looks of disdain when she returns and talks incessantly about Daniel with her female coworkers, Julie, Stella, and Caroline. Tim has a jar of gourmet herbal teas in… read analysis of Tim and Dave
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Liz’s husband and Daniel’s father. He has a “soft, slumped,” look from all the hours he spends commuting and working, and his appearance reminds readers of the physical toll of modern capitalism on… read analysis of Andrew