A Day’s Wait

by

Ernest Hemingway

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Schatz (The Son) Character Analysis

The father’s son is a nine-year-old boy nicknamed “Schatz,” or treasure. When he falls ill with influenza, he attempts to appear mature, manly, and unemotional. Rather than admit to the weaknesses of illness, confusion, loneliness, or fear, he denies himself rest, company, and sympathy on what he thinks is his deathbed. At his age, he doesn’t understand enough about the world to realize that America uses a different temperature scale than most other countries; since his French classmates told him that a 44-degree fever is fatal, and he has a whopping 102-degree fever, the boy mistakenly believes that he is dying. When the boy’s father assures him that he isn’t going to die, the boy quits trying to act so mature allows himself to cry over minor upsets.

Schatz (The Son) Quotes in A Day’s Wait

The A Day’s Wait quotes below are all either spoken by Schatz (The Son) or refer to Schatz (The Son). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Silence and Miscommunication Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of A Day’s Wait published in 1987.
“A Day’s Wait” Quotes

But when I came downstairs he was dressed, sitting by the fire, looking a very sick and miserable boy of nine years. When I put my hand on his forehead I knew he had a fever.

“You go up to bed,” I said, “You’re sick.”

“I’m all right,” he said.

Related Characters: The Father (speaker), Schatz (The Son) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Temperature
Page Number: 332
Explanation and Analysis:

After a while he said to me, “You don’t have to stay in here with me, Papa, if it bothers you.”

“It doesn’t bother me.”

“No, I mean you don’t have to stay if it’s going to bother you.”

I thought perhaps he was a little lightheaded and after giving him the prescribed capsules at eleven o’clock I went out for a while.

Related Characters: The Father (speaker), Schatz (The Son) (speaker)
Page Number: 333
Explanation and Analysis:

At the house they said the boy had refused to let any one come into the room.

“You can’t come in,” he said. “You mustn’t get what I have.”

Related Characters: The Father (speaker), Schatz (The Son) (speaker)
Page Number: 333
Explanation and Analysis:

“Your temperature is all right,” I said. “It’s nothing to worry about.”

“I don’t worry,” he said, “but I can’t keep from thinking.”

“Don’t think,” I said. “Just take it easy.”

“I’m taking it easy,” he said and looked straight ahead. He was evidently holding tight onto himself about something.

Related Characters: The Father (speaker), Schatz (The Son) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Temperature
Page Number: 334
Explanation and Analysis:

I sat down and opened the Pirate book and commenced to read, but I could see he was not following, so I stopped.

“About what time do you think I’m going to die?” he asked.

“What?”

“About how long will it be before I die?”

Related Characters: The Father (speaker), Schatz (The Son) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Book of Pirates
Page Number: 334
Explanation and Analysis:

“People don’t die with a fever of one hundred and two. That’s a silly way to talk.”

“I know they do. At school in France the boys told me you can’t live with forty-four degrees. I’ve got a hundred and two.”

He had been waiting to die all day, ever since nine o’clock in the morning.

“Poor old Schatz. It’s like miles and kilometers. You aren’t going to die. That’s a different thermometer. On that thermometer thirty-seven is normal. On this kind it’s ninety-eight.”

Related Characters: The Father (speaker), Schatz (The Son) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Temperature
Page Number: 334
Explanation and Analysis:

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.

Related Characters: The Father (speaker), Schatz (The Son)
Page Number: 334
Explanation and Analysis:
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A Day’s Wait PDF

Schatz (The Son) Character Timeline in A Day’s Wait

The timeline below shows where the character Schatz (The Son) appears in A Day’s Wait. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
“A Day’s Wait”
Masculinity and Heroism Theme Icon
Maturity and Innocence Theme Icon
The unnamed narrator, the father of a nine-year-old boy nicknamed “Schatz,” notices one morning that his son is shivering, pale, and in pain. He asks the... (full context)
Silence and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Masculinity and Heroism Theme Icon
Maturity and Innocence Theme Icon
The doctor comes to examine the boy . He takes the boy’s temperature and says that he has a fever of 102... (full context)
Silence and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Masculinity and Heroism Theme Icon
Maturity and Innocence Theme Icon
Back upstairs, the father offers to read aloud to his son from a book called Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates. He notes that the boy’s “face... (full context)
Silence and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Masculinity and Heroism Theme Icon
Maturity and Innocence Theme Icon
When the father returns to the house, he hears that the boy hasn’t allowed anyone to come into his room, insisting that no one else must catch... (full context)
Silence and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Masculinity and Heroism Theme Icon
The father gives the boy the next dose of medicine, and the boy asks if it will do any good.... (full context)
Silence and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Masculinity and Heroism Theme Icon
Maturity and Innocence Theme Icon
The father explains to the boy—“poor old Schatz”—that the two countries use different thermometers and measurements of temperature, just like they use different... (full context)