The Three-Day Blow

by Ernest Hemingway

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Summarize Ernest Hemingway's "The Three-Day Blow".

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Ernest Hemingway's short story, "The Three-Day Blow," features one of his most famous characters, Nick Adams, enjoying more than a few drinks at a friend's cottage while trying to forget about the recent break-up with his girlfriend. The story primarily consists of dialogue between Nick and his pal, Bill Wemedge. Outside, the first autumn storm is erupting; it will be a "three-day blow," Bill predicts. Inside the cottage, the fireplace warms the two men, who discuss baseball--how the St. Louis Cardinals will never win a World Series--and their favorite sport: fishing. They decide to get drunk, first finishing off Bill's father's Irish whiskey.

"It's got a swell, smoky taste," Nick said.

The two men discuss another love--literature--debating about which writers would be better fishing companions. After that bottle is finished, they find a bottle of opened Scotch; Bill refuses to open a new bottle since his father has always warned that

"... opening bottles is what makes drunkards."

They toast fishing and their favorite writers before the conversation turns to Nick's recent failed love affair. They had planned to be married, Nick tells Bill, but they were never officially engaged. Bill has heard differently, but tells Nick "What's the difference?" Nick laments that the romance had failed and that "it was my fault."

     "It doesn't make any difference whose fault it was," Bill said.

They decide to get even drunker and forget about the girl. Eventually, they decide to take their shotguns and go hunting in the storm. It will take Nick's mind off the girl.

     None of it was important now. The wind blew it out of his head. Still he could always go into town Saturday night. It was a good thing to have in reserve.

"The Three-Day Blow" is an excellent example of Hemingway's less-is-more attitude about storytelling--his "iceberg principle." The dialogue that seems so superficial on the outside reveals many things about the men's inner feelings. They both believe that women restrict a man's independence, and that they are better off without them. Their male camaraderie is apparent, and they are happiest when talking about sports, drinking and their fathers.

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