How can the reader compare the characters of Schatz and his father in "A Day's Wait"?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Schatz and his father of "A Day's Wait" are both characters who do not communicate well with each other. For one thing, they seem to have problems expressing their feelings; nor do they question one another enough about feelings. When, for instance, after the doctor leaves and the father asks Schatz if he wishes to be read to, the boy simply says, "All right. If you want to." And, when the father asks him how he feels, Schatz answers "Just the same, so far." But, the father does not ask his son what he means by "so far."

Then, when the father asks why he does not try to sleep, Schatz says, "I'd rather stay awake" the father again does not question his son's meaning, even when the boy adds, "You don't have to stay in here with me, Papa, if it bothers you." The father assumes that his son is simply a little lightheaded from his fever. And so, poor Schatz is left alone with his own thoughts, thoughts he could share with his father, and, thus save himself the misery of believing that he is dying.

Certainly, there is a stoicism to both the father and the son. Schatz  tells his father he is "not worried," yet later he asks, "About what time do you think I'm going to die?" And, the father makes light of his son's question,

"People don't die with a fever of one hundred and two.  That's a silly way to talk."

Even when he realizes that his boy has worried all day about dying, the father only says to him, "Por old Schatz....You aren't going to die.  That's a different thermometer..."and he explains the difference between Celsius and Farenheit. However, there is a backlash to Schatz's self-control as he becomes detached and he cries very easily keeping a distance between himself and his father.




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A Day's Wait

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