A Day’s Wait

by

Ernest Hemingway

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The father is the story’s unnamed narrator. He treats his nine-year-old son with affection and tenderness, encouraging him to rest and allow his body to recover rather than stubbornly ignore the symptoms of illness. His care and concern for his son, whom he lovingly calls “Schatz,” meaning “treasure,” ultimately backfires. The father and the doctor both fail to share medical information with the boy—the difference between temperatures in Fahrenheit and Celsius—and inadvertently causes him great alarm.

The Father Quotes in A Day’s Wait

The A Day’s Wait quotes below are all either spoken by The Father or refer to The Father. 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:
Get the entire A Day’s Wait LitChart as a printable PDF.
A Day’s Wait PDF

The Father Character Timeline in A Day’s Wait

The timeline below shows where the character The Father 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,... (full context)
Silence and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Masculinity and Heroism Theme Icon
Maturity and Innocence Theme Icon
...says that he has a fever of 102 degrees. Downstairs, the doctor leaves medicine with the father and diagnoses the boy with mild influenza. The doctor says that isn’t dangerous as long... (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... (full context)
Masculinity and Heroism Theme Icon
Maturity and Innocence Theme Icon
The father heads outside with his dog to hunt quail. The landscape is coated with frozen sleet,... (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... (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... (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... (full context)