“A Day’s Wait”

Ernest Hemingway’s short story “A Day’s Wait” is only three pages, but three pages of Hemingway prose is well worth the read.

A nine-year old boy comes down with influenza.  In overhearing the doctor tell his father that his temperature is 102,  he silently waits to die.  The boy had heard a friend of his in France indicate that a temperature over 44 means a person will die.  Of course, the one little bit of information the boy didn’t get was the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit.

The story is told from the perspective of the boy’s father who doesn’t realize until the end of the day what the boy is thinking.  Two paragraphs describe the father going hunting on a wintry day with his Irish Setter-vintage Hemingway.  A certain kind of bravery exists in the boy’s “stiff upper lip” in the face of death, even though it’s slightly misguided – vintage Hemingway, also.

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2 responses to ““A Day’s Wait”

  1. I must dig out my collection of Hemingway stories. Plus, I bought For Whom the Bell Tolls right after our book club read The Sun Also Rises and still haven’t gotten to that yet. So much to read, so little time…

    I did finish Gilead this morning at least. Will try to post my thoughts on that soon… 🙂

    • My rate is about 10 pages a day in Hard Times. I’ve got about 50 pages left. I also chose A Day’s Wait because it was only 3 pages. I seem to not have as much time recently, but I don’t know why. It doesn’t bode well for reading War and Peace by the end of the year! Interested to hear your thoughts on Gilead.

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