The short story , “The Three-Day Blow”, by Ernst Hemingway, is a sequel/continuation to the “End of Something”, where Nick breaks up with his girlfriend.
In the sequel, Nick is in denial and hasn’t accepted, that his relationship is over and tries to fill the void with alcohol.
The short story is about two young boys, Nick and Bill and takes place at Bill’s father’s cottage, where they get drunk and have a conversation about life and relationships.
The genre of the story is minimalism. It is a story with a few details about the storyline and the characters. “Nick came in with the log […].”
“The Three-Day Blow” starts in a classical Hemingway style, Medias res. Furthermore, it starts with a description of the settings and frame of the story. “There was the cottage […].”
Bill is jealous and doesn’t want to lose his friendship with/to Nick. He believes that Nick and Marjorie’s relationship will cost him his friendship with/to Nick.
Nick and Bill both try to act like men, hence their decision to get drunk. However, they are also acting very childish as they compete over who gets drunk first.
Bill and Nick’s relationship is very competitive. That is shown when they argue over which author is better, Chesterton or Walpole.
The setting is a cabin in the forest, that belongs to Bill's. “There was the cottage […]”
The descriptions of the cabin give the reader a feeling of isolation, whilst the inside of the cabin, a fire is burning, giving the feeling of protection from the weather and the world outside.
Other than the descriptions of the setting it is also a symbolic description of how Nick is acting.
On the inside, he is tormented by the decision to break up with Marjorie. On the outside, he never tells this to Bill.
The story is written in a third-person narration and follows Nick’s point of view.
That means, that the narrator is limited and knows only what Nick thinks. The Story is mainly direct speech, which means the narrator lets the characters speak for themselves.
Reading the story from Nick’s perspective helps the readers sympathize with Nick’s situation.
The feeling of being torn by the conflict between male ideals and romantic ideals.
The main themes in “The Three-Day Blow” are ideals, masculinity and control.
Ideals are shown numerous times throughout the story in their conversation and choice of topics. Bill and Nick also have different ideals concerning their lives.
Bill’s ideal life is a life of independence and not tied down by a woman. Nick isn’t sure what he wants and is torn by the ideals of being an independent man or a family man.
Masculinity and control are shown through Bill’s character. He tries to control the conversation with Nick and forces his opinions onto him.
Bill isn’t only a very controlling person, but he very clearly expresses his ideal of masculinity and control.
He believes marriage takes away men’s rights. “The Three-Day Blow” is not only a story but made out of real-life situations and makes the reader think about their life decision and choices.