Why is the title "A Day's Wait" an appropriate title?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A shattering, metaphoric significance to the title of Hemingway's short story is the fact that is the wait of the day by the father that has made all the difference in the boy's psyche.  For, the miscommunication between son and father regarding the meaning of his temperature as well as regarding the boy's implication of "You don't have to stay in here with me, Papa, if it bothers you" that effects the detachment of Schatz.

When the father departs his son's bedside to walk the dog and shoot quail, Schatz is left with his despairing thoughts of imminent death.  It is this "wait," this moment in real life, that presents the philosophical implications of Hemingway's story.  That is, Schatz faces, like all men, existential questions alone, and in so doing, he experiences the terrible aloneness of man--Hemingway's "nada"--that causes Schatz's detachment from then on.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Ernest Hemingway's short story "A Day's Wait" can be deemed appropriate based upon the movement of the text.

In the beginning, Schatz is ill. His father, worried about his condition (a temperature of 102 degrees) calls a doctor to examine Schatz. The doctor tells Schatz that he has the flu. After telling Schatz not to worry about his temperature until it reaches 104 degrees, the doctor leaves Schatz and his father alone.

Schatz's father, worried about his son, stays beside his bedside until Schatz seems to grow weary of his company. Schatz's concern for his fever grows to be too much for his father, and his father leaves to hunt. When his father returns, he takes Schatz's temperature again and lies about it going down.

It is not until the end of the story that supports Hemingway's titling of the story. During the first day, Schatz is completely obsessed with his fever and of dying. It is not until the next day that Shantz's concerns dissipate.

The next day it was very slack and he cried very easily at little things that were of no importance.

Therefore, the title of the story is appropriate given the change which takes place over the course of one day to the next. The wait between one day to the next makes all the difference in the world to Schatz.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial