What is the theme of "A Day's Wait"?

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A further theme one could consider is the inability of so many people to face up to their own mortality. Although Schatz is only a child, there's little doubt that his inability to come to terms with his inevitable demise is widely shared among adults too. In that sense, one could argue that his malaise has symbolic value for humanity as a whole.

Having settled into a relatively calm, stoical acceptance of death, Schatz's whole attitude changes dramatically when he finds out that he isn't at death's door after all. This would suggest that, if Schatz genuinely does experience a terminal illness in future, he won't know how to handle it. Why? Because his traumatic childhood experience of death has scarred him for life.

Among other things, this will most probably mean that, like a lot of characters in Hemingway's works, he will run away from confronting the uncomfortable fact of his mortality and lead a life characterized by inauthenticity and endless distractions: anything to keep the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 667 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on October 29, 2019
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