A Day's Wait

This study guide will help you analyze the text “A Day’s Wait” by Ernest Hemingway. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on summary, plot and structure, characterization, and themes.

Presentation of the text

Title: “A Day’s Wait”
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Genre: Short Story
Year of Publication: 1933

Ernest Hemingway is considered a classic American author who revolutionized fiction writing in the 20th century. He was both a journalist and a writer and was awarded The Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for literature. His most well-known novels are The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and A Farewell to Arms.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide:

The Father

Schatz’s father is also the narrator of the story. Though we have insight into his thoughts, he does not reveal anything about his feelings. The unmanned man strikes as a rational-minded person, focused on facts: “One was to bring down the fever, another a purgative, the third to overcome an acid condition. The germs of influenza can only exist in an acid condition, he explained.”

Setting and time

The story takes places somewhere in the countryside during winter time. We do not know the exact place or year, yet we can assume it is somewhere in the US during the beginning of the 1930s. As Hemingway himself grew up in the countryside in Illinois, we can also assume that the story was inspired by his childhood surroundings.

The action takes place over one single day, from the morning when Schatz shows symptoms of influenza until the afternoon.

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A Day's Wait

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