Describe the style of Ernest Hemingway's "A Day's Wait." 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a former journalist, Ernest Hemingway perpetuated his minimalist style in his literary writing, as well. In his short story, "A Day's Wait," Hemingway's sparse style becomes an understatement for the anguish that is unexpressed by Schatz, who mistakenly believes that he is going to die.

The style of Hemingway befits the theme of this short story as it is a portrayal of an individual's stoic courage in the face of his perceived death. Hemingway's "slice of life" tale takes a brief day that carries with it philosophical implications. Thus, the author's minimalist reporting of Schatz's anguish carries with it universal applications.  For, Hemingway's depiction of a brief moment in the lives of Schatz and his father heightens the universal themes that emerge from this narrative. 

Having told his father to go "if it bothers you," Schatz bravely faces alone what he perceives as death. When his father returns and tells Schatz that he has not really been all that sick, Hemingway writes,

But his gaze at the foot of the bed relaxed slowly.  The hold over himself relaxed too, finally, and the next day it was very slack and he cried very easily at little things that were of no importance.

With minimal description of Schatz's reactions to his father's explanation of his real condition, Schatz becomes "detached" through misunderstanding. And, Hemingway's sparse style of writing reflects the lack of understanding between Schatz and his father.