Explain how Ernest Hemingway's "A Day's Wait" is a slice of life story.  

1 Answer

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Tranche de vie, or slice of life, in literature usually refers to a "cut-out" portion of a larger series of events in the development of a character. It usually takes place over a short period of time, and can be a seemingly insignificant event which becomes more important in the larger storytelling perspective. Other characteristics of a slice of life story include limited exposition, conflict and character development. Such is the case with Ernest Hemingway's "A Day's Wait." The story takes place in barely 24 hours, and it tells of Schatz's case of the flu, an occasionally dangerous ailment but one which most children (and adults) usually face. We know little about the boy or his father (though the story is based on Hemingway's own son, who is nicknamed "Schatz"), and the true conflict--the misunderstanding between Fahrenheit and Centigrade thermometer readings--seem fairly insignificant; but not to Schatz, who spends the day and night worrying about when he will die. Schatz recovers, but afterward,

"he cried very easily at little things that were of no importance."