Why do Nick and Bill in "The Three Day Blow" by Ernest Hemingway talk about specific books?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Nick and Bill, long-time friends, await the storm referred to as "the three-day blow," they take refuge in the cottage of Bill's father, who is out hunting.  As they drink the whiskey of Bill's father, the two friends talk of baseball, fishing, their fathers, books, and favorite writers.  The discussion of baseball and the writers involves unscrupulous trades, corrupt baseball managers, and conspiracies about which most people know nothing.  Then, the conversation turns to authors, writers such as G. K. Chesterton and Horace Walpole--

"That's right," said Nick.  "I guess he's a better guy than Walpole....But Walpole's a better writer."

 The boys wish that they could share their personal passions with these men who are good writers and good people, in contrast to the corrupt managers and owners of professional baseball teams:

"I wish we had them both here,"  Nick said.  "We'd take them both fishing to the "Voix tomorrow."

This conversation between Nick and Bill threads the motif of a haunting vision of a real world in which human aspirations are corrupted by greed and the desire for power or by incompetence or the destructiveness of nature--"the three day blow."  The allusion to books and their authors represents Nick's wistful desire that he could control his life as the writers control their narratives and characters.