Analysis of a Novel “A Days Wait” by Ernest Hemingway “A Days Wait” is a novel written by Ernest Hemingway in 1933. The events described in the story happen during a day. That is why the title of the story is suggestive as it presumes some kind of expectation. This title is very important for the novel as it focuses the reader’s attention on the following information and main idea of the story. The title of the novel is one of means that the author uses to help the reader to understand the text fully and clearly and make the main idea more pronounced.
The novel includes everal themes, for example: the idea of suffering, of heroism, of misunderstanding. The idea of heroism is expressed through the boys behavior. He is ill, he thinks he is going to die. But while fighting his fear and illness he’s trying to protect his family. As he doesn’t want them to contract the disease he has he doesn’t let his relatives in his room.
He prefers to suffer alone rather than let his family suffer because of him. Behavior like that describes him as a brave and courageous man, though he is only a nine years old boy. “At the house they said the boy had refused to let anyone come into the room.
You can’t come in,” he said. “You mustn’t get what I have. “” Also there is an idea of suffering without any reason, when the problems are not real but invented by people.
The boy is mislead by false information about his physical condition which causes a day of mental torment for him as he is waiting for his death, not knowing that he is comparatively well. “You poor Schatz,” I said. “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. But the main theme of the novel is family relations, particularly isunderstanding in the family, suffering of the boy and the father who doesn’t understand him. The author gives us an opportunity to see the day of a family life at it is, without any adorning. The story is about a nine-year-old boy who becomes sick one winter night. After a doctor is called, it is determined that Schatz has contracted the flu and has a high fever. It is considered only a mild case, and the doctor leaves medicine for the boy, who overhears the physician tell the father that the boy’s temperature is 102 degrees.
So the boy believes he is going to die but keeps his thoughts to himself. Nobody except him is aware about his worries. It causes great misunderstanding between the boy and his father, which is clear from their dialogue. “After a while he said to me, “You don’t have to stay in here with me, Papa, if it bothers you. ” “It doesnt 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 light-headed and after giving him the prescribed capsules at eleven o’clock I went out for a while. ” Talking to each other they really mean different things.
The boy means his death when he says that he suggests father’s leaving the room if it others him. The father says that staying with his son doesn’t bother him. They talk to each other and don’t understand each other as they were speaking in different languages. The same misunderstanding happens twice, with the difference that at the second time the boy reveals his concerns at last and the story comes to its logical conclusion. miour temperature is all right,” I said. “It’s nothing to worry about. ” “l 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 worried about something. So the main idea in the novel is fatal misunderstanding between a parent and a child. They live together and communicate with each other, but they don’t understand each other. There seems to be a wall between two generations of the family, which causes a lot of mental suffering for the boy and makes their relations incomplete. The story is based on a conversation between father and son. It’s built in the form of a dialogue, which is very typical for E. Hemingway’s writing style.
The conversations between main characters are interrupted with author’s narration (the doctor’s coming and the ather’s going out for a walk). There is also the description of weather and the landscape which is very important as it has a symbolical character. The author uses a lot of “symbols” to emphasize either the idea of the text or character features of the personages. The symbol of fire and winter (cold weather) expresses two opposite ideas – life and death. The boy is comfortable and safe inside of the house, it is warm there while he’s sitting at the fire.
But there is winter outside, everything is frozen and dead. Life and death are very close to each other, though life overcomes death in this novel. But when I came downstairs he was dressed, sitting by the fire, looking a very sick and miserable boy of nine years. ” “I went out for a while. It was a bright, cold day, the ground covered with a sleet that had frozen so that it seemed as if all the bare trees, the bushes, the cut brush and all the grass and the bare ground had been varnished with ice. I took the young Irish setter for a little walk up the road and along a frozen creek. The symbolical meaning of nature and the landscape here is very important. In this part of the story the father goes out for a while, while his son stays in bed thinking about death. In the description of the landscape it is mentioned that the ground is covered with ice. There seems to be a barrier, a wall between the father and the nature. He walks on the ground but he cannot touch it. It is the same in the relations with his son. He can see that something is wrong with the boy but he cannot really help him as they don’t have real connection and mutual understanding.
Furthermore there is a thermometer as a symbol of misunderstanding. The boy gets the wrong information because of difference between scales and it misleads him. There is nothing wrong with the hermometer but because of it all this misunderstanding happens. Besides that, there is another interesting moment in the novel. When the father is trying to cheer his son up he starts reading him the Pirate book. The pirates are the symbols of braveness and courage, and they remind the boy himself. He like pirates, faces his troubles and fears courageously. Moreover this episode shows father’s attitude towards his son.
He treats him as a child though his son needs a sincere talk with his father during which he would say all his concerns to his father and actually would solve his problems. Hemingway uses the first-person narration. The father himself is the narrator in this story. As he cannot read his son’s mind the reader has an opportunity to participate in the story and understand it through the father’s eyes. As for the compositional structure of the story it consists of three parts: plot, climax, anticlimax and conclusion. Such compositional parts as exposition and introduction are omitted here.
So, the story begins with the plot. “He came into the room to shut the windows while we were still in bed and I saw he looked ill. He was shivering, his face was white, and he walked slowly as though it ched to move. “What’s the matter, Schatz? “” The tension in the story develops through the plot and comes to its sharpest point when the boy asks his father the main question which has been tormenting him for the whole day. “”About what time do you think I’m going to die? ” he asked. “What? ” “About how long will it be before I die? “” The climax is followed by release of the tension in anticlimax.
In this part of the story everything becomes clear, the father reassures his son that he is going to be fine. The boy calms down. The anticlimax is followed by a little conclusion in which the author escribes the feelings of the boy (after he understands that he is going to be fine) and his behavior the next day. After the boy relaxes the hold over himself he cant help crying over trivial things. Though it is a typical behavior for people after stressful situations we can see that the boy is still a child. “But 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. ” So the whole story is centered around the boy and his father, particularly their relations. The story is written in a very simple language. Hemingway uses short sentences, plain grammar and accessible language. Though as usage of adjectives isn’t typical for Hemingway’s writing style (the descriptions are based on verbs which describe actions and gestures of the personages), there are several epithets in the novel: white-faced boy, bare trees, varnished with ice.
In the following descriptions of the main characters the author puts emphasis on verbs which allows him to make the story close to reality and full of life. “He came into the room to shut the windows while we were still in bed and I saw he looked ill. He was shivering, his face was white, and he walked slowly as though it ached to move. ” “l sat at the foot of the bed and read to myself while I waited for it to be time to give another capsule. It would have been natural for him to go to sleep, but when I looked up he was looking at the foot of the bed, looking very strangely. “”You can’t come in,” he said. “You mustn’t get what I have. ” I went up to him and found him in exactly the position I had left him, white-faced, but with the tops of his cheeks flushed by the fever, staring still, as he had stared, at the foot of the bed. ” There are some indirect descriptions of the boy nd his father. The author describes the boy as a brave, courageous, thoughtful person. When his father understands that he is ill and sends him to bed he bravely refuses to do that trying to hold his ground with all his might. “”I’ve got a headache. “You’d better go back to bed. ” “No, I’m all right. ” “You go to bed. I’ll see you when I’m dressed. ” 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. ” Though the boy believes he is going to die he still takes care for his relatives. This is very heroic of him to think about other people while he thinks that he is at the death’s door. “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 dont have to stay if it’s going to bother you. “” At the house they said the boy had refused to let anyone come into the room. “You can’t come in,” he said. “You mustnt get what I have. ” In this situation he behaves like an adult, like a grown- up man. Under such tremendous pressure he keeps silent and doesn’t reveal his thoughts to anyone. Though the boy behaves like an adult he still remains a child, it becomes obvious in the conclusion. “… and the next day it was very slack and he cried very easily at little things that were of no importance. On the contrary the father behaves like a child especially comparing to his own son. Though he notices that something is bothering his son he cannot understand what it can be. “l thought perhaps he was a little light-headed and after giving him the prescribed capsules at eleven o’clock I went out for a while. ” He seems very helpless when he takes care for his child. He tries his best to improve his condition and comfort him, but all his efforts turn out to be useless. “”Do you want me to read to you? ” “All right, if you want to,” said the boy.
His face was very white and there were dark areas under his eyes. He lay still in the bed and seemed very detached from what was going on. ” The dialogues are another important part in the novel as the conversation between the characters shows not only their attitude to each other, but also it shows the way they think and their life philosophy. Actually, the author uses simple sentences in dialogues. The characters do not speak much but, sometimes, he thoughts they keep to themselves are more important than the words they say.
It is the way for the author to show his personages’ character and inner conflict. miour temperature is all right,” I said. “It’s nothing to worry about. ” “l don’t worry,” he said, “but I can’t keep from thinking. ” “I’m taking it easy,” he said and looked worried about something. ” The story is very fascinating. Though it is very short the author managed to express the tension of a days wait, mental sufferings of the child and the awkwardness of the situation of misunderstanding. It is a very useful story to remember.