Cake

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 worries. He was weaned before she returned to work but still wants to breastfeed, which makes her feel intensely guilty—society tells Liz that she needs to wean Daniel so that she can live a more independent life, but both Daniel and Liz want to keep breastfeeding. Liz’s desire for physical contact with Daniel and her desire to stay home with him rather than return to work makes her feel “too needy” and contributes to most of her unhappiness throughout the story.

Daniel Quotes in Cake

The Cake quotes below are all either spoken by Daniel or refer to Daniel. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Guilt Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribe edition of Cake published in 2012.
Cake Quotes

And he’s in there, alone, where she’s left him. Abandoned him to a roomful of rampaging strangers: big, chunky, runny-nose buzz-cut boys in miniature camouflage gear, already seasoned commanders of the play equipment and the puzzles.

Related Characters: Liz, Daniel
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
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Liz fishes out her wallet and finds a five-dollar note, snaps it shut before she has to look at the photo of Daniel tucked in there. His shy smile like a boobytrap. He’d have his thumb in his mouth right not. Not smiling, that’s for sure.

Related Characters: Liz, Daniel, Julie, Stella, and Caroline
Related Symbols: Five-Dollar Note
Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Something is tearing inside her, slowly and deliberately, like a perforated seam. And even as she’s admonishing herself that giving in will only make things worse tomorrow, her hands are functioning outside her own volition again, unbuttoning her shirt.

Related Characters: Liz, Daniel
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Daniel Character Timeline in Cake

The timeline below shows where the character Daniel appears in Cake. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Cake
Guilt Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
...imagines what would happen if she did run back into the daycare center to rescue Daniel: she’d burst through the soundproof doors of the “under-twos room”—doors that are meant to muffle... (full context)
Guilt Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
Liz feels like she should be prepared for this moment—Daniel’s name has been on this daycare center’s waitlist for months, and he’s already gone through... (full context)
Capitalism Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
...“the land of the living.” Liz’s female coworkers, Julie, Stella, and Caroline, ask all about Daniel. Liz shows them pictures of him on the swing and at his swim class, which... (full context)
Guilt Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
Liz calls Kidz Rezort to check on Daniel. A staff member assures her that he is fine and riding a scooter, but Liz... (full context)
Guilt Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
...note out of her purse and wills herself not to look at the photo of Daniel she has in there. She thinks of his smile “like a boobytrap.”  She is overcome... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
...restaurant. Liz fights the urge to run over to the daycare center to check on Daniel. When her food arrives, she tries her lasagna and feels cheated—it is made with the... (full context)
Guilt Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
...lives. Liz feels indignant because she has enjoyed breastfeeding for a year and a half. Daniel wants to continue and she doesn’t feel as if he has been “dictating” anything.  She... (full context)
Guilt Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
At the end of the day, Liz leaves work and picks up Daniel. She talks to him using an “inanely cheerful voice” that seems forced. She feels intensely... (full context)
Guilt Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Later, Liz takes Daniel to the bedroom to feed him his bottle, but he reaches for her shirt. She... (full context)