Summary of “The Three Day Blow” and Questions/Answers

The Three Day Blow Summary

The Three Day Blow” by Ernest Hemingway is a story about two friends, Nick and Bill, who spend an autumn afternoon together at Bill’s cottage.

The weather is stormy, with strong winds that have just ended a bout of rain, creating the perfect setting for the boys to stay inside and talk. This setting not only confines them indoors but also mirrors the emotional turmoil that Nick is experiencing.

As Nick walks through an orchard on his way to Bill’s house, he picks up a fallen apple, symbolizing the fallen state of his own emotions. Upon his arrival, the boys stand on the porch discussing the weather, predicting that the wind will continue for three days.

Inside, they make a fire and decide to drink whiskey. Nick dries his boots by the fire and puts on a pair of Bill’s socks, signifying his attempt to get comfortable in this setting.

Their conversation starts light, focusing on baseball and their favorite team, the Cardinals. They then discuss books, agreeing on their admiration for Chesterton and Walpole.

The talk shifts to their father’s drinking habits, revealing a contrast: Bill’s father drinks regularly, while Nick’s father never does. As they continue drinking, moving from whiskey to Scotch, their dialogue becomes more personal and revealing.

The pivotal part of their conversation is about Nick’s recent breakup with Marjorie. Bill expresses his relief that Nick is no longer with her, stating that he does not want to see Nick married. This brings a wave of sadness over Nick as he remembers the plans he and Marjorie had made together.

However, Bill suggests that Nick could always get back together with Marjorie, offering Nick a sense of hope and the realization that nothing is irreversible. This idea comforts Nick and slightly lifts his spirits.

The story ends with the boys deciding to go outside to find Bill’s father. Nick feels a renewed sense of possibility, contemplating the idea of reconnecting with Marjorie on Saturday night.

The three-day blow is a metaphor for the turbulence in Nick’s life. Just as the storm strips the trees of their leaves, Nick’s breakup with Marjorie has stripped him of his emotional stability.

However, the storm also suggests that such emotional turmoil is temporary and will pass, leaving room for new growth and hope.

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Hemingway uses the stormy weather to reflect Nick’s inner conflict and the transitional phase of his life. The story captures the essence of young adulthood, with its mix of confusion, heartbreak, and the tentative steps towards maturity and self-discovery.

Through their candid conversations, Nick and Bill explore themes of love, loss, and the struggle to understand one’s feelings in the face of life’s unpredictable changes.

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Important Questions and Answers

What is the significance of the three-day blow in the story?

The three-day blow symbolizes the turbulent emotions and changes in Nick’s life, particularly his breakup with Marjorie. Just as the storm strips the trees of their leaves, Nick’s breakup has stripped him of his emotional stability, but it also suggests that such turmoil is temporary.

How does the setting contribute to the story?

The stormy autumn weather confines Nick and Bill indoors, creating an intimate setting for their conversation. The weather mirrors Nick’s emotional state and provides a backdrop for the exploration of his feelings and thoughts.

What role does Bill play in Nick’s decision about Marjorie?

Bill acts as a practical, somewhat cynical voice, encouraging Nick to see the breakup as a positive step. He reassures Nick that getting back with Marjorie is always an option, which helps Nick realize that nothing is irreversible.

How does the conversation about their fathers’ drinking habits add to the story?

The discussion about their fathers’ drinking habits highlights the differences between Nick and Bill’s upbringings and adds depth to their characters. It also serves to contrast their perspectives on life and relationships.

What does the ending of the story signify for Nick?

The ending, where Nick feels a renewed sense of possibility and contemplates reconnecting with Marjorie, signifies hope and the idea that life offers second chances. It reflects Nick’s emotional growth and the understanding that his current state of turmoil will eventually pass.

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