A Day's Wait Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

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In "A Days Wait," what mood was the story?

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S.L. Watson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Hemingway's short story "A Long Day's Wait," the mood on the part of the young boy is that of anxiousness. Schatz, a nine year old boy, spends the day lying in bed waiting to die. The doctor has told his Papa that he has a temperature of one hundred and two. The boy overhears the comment and believes that temperature means he will die. Later on in the story, the reader discovers that Schatz has confused Celsius with Fahrenheit when he tells his father that the boys in France told him "you can't live with forty-four degrees." Thus, Schatz spends the day anxious and fearful, wondering just when he will die.

On the other hand, the father tries to read to Schatz, and when the boy doesn't respond to the Pirate book, Papa decides to go out hunting, leaving the boy alone. Though the father is not completely indifferent, he appears distant to the boy's fears, perhaps even a bit cold. The story ends with the boy crying over little things the following day. It appears the father may be a bit disappointed in the lack of the young boy's manhood.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In "A Day's Wait," Hemingway tells the story in his typically straight forward though somewhat detached style with little emotional embellishment for the most part. Though the son is suffering from the effects of the flu, the narrator treats the it as just another day. Like the weather outside, the mood inside is coldly serious. The father attempts to lighten the mood, since he realizes his son is concerned about his illness, and the father senses that his son is hiding some underlying fear; however, he fails to discover the boy's true concern until the end.

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