The Three-Day Blow by Ernest Hemingway
In Three-Day Blow by Ernest Hemingway we have the theme of friendship, respect, commitment, change, loss and letting go. Taken from this The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator after reading the story the reader realises that Hemingway may be exploring the theme of friendship. Both Bill and Nick are comfortable with each other and it is noticeable that throughout their stay together the conversation is wide and diverse. As you would expect a conversation between friends to be. Though both men are slowly getting drunk there is also no hostility between Bill and Nick. Which would place a further emphasis on their friendship. They also have a lot in common when it comes to the local sporting teams and the books they read. If anything both Bill and Nick have a common bond in whereby they both respect each other. Just as Nick is a welcome visitor to Bill’s home the reader suspects that likewise Bill would be a welcome visitor in Nicks home. Though Hemingway doesn’t mention it in the story is possible that both Bill and Nick are childhood friends. They appear to share everything (socks, alcohol, guns). And both have the ability to accept the others criticism. Something that is noticeable when Bill tells Nick that he is lucky that he is no longer with Marjorie.
All though it is also noticeable that Nick is sure to tell Bill that he wasn’t engaged to Marjorie. That they hadn’t gone that far into relationship. This may be important as Mick may be afraid of commitment and Marjorie may have tired waiting on commitment from Nick. It is also interesting that Nick still knows where Marjorie is and as has a backup mind in plan in mind about visiting Marjorie after he is finishes with Bill. This may be important as though Nick has said that he has forgotten about Marjorie there is still something pulling him towards her. He may have been afraid of commitment but still longs for Marjorie. Which in all likelihood is not something that is possible if it was Marjorie who wanted Bill to show some commitment to the relationship. Should Nick and Marjorie meet up all Nick would be doing would be stringing Marjorie along. He has not made the necessary changes that are required when it comes to commitment. Though there is nothing wrong with hunting, sports or drinking whiskey. Not every woman is going to find this attractive and this may be the case for Marjorie. She may have realises that both her and Nick were two very different people and that is why the relationship floundered. However it is noticeable that Nick was willing to change and go to Italy with Marjorie. Which may suggest that Nick is very much in love with Marjorie.
It is also interesting that Bill is adamant he will not be marrying and sees no motive in finding himself a wife. Nick is different he can no let go of Marjorie and he tries to hold a steady face when Bill is talking about Marjorie and marriage. Whether it is the alcohol playing on Nick’s mind he knows that he has a decision to make. Whether or not to drive to town and see Marjorie on Sunday. It is also interesting that Bill feels as though a woman or wife would take away his freedom. Yet Nick is the complete opposite. He longs for Marjorie’s companionship and is prepared to change aspects of his life to accommodate her. Something that had not previously been the case in the story. If anything Nick may realise he is of a marrying age and that he does not want to life his life alone. It might also be a case that Nick has reached a state in whereby he also wants to start a family. It is also noticeable that the liquor in Bills house leaves Nick feeling all ‘died out and left him alone.’ This could be important as it is possible that Nick has realised that there are other things more important than liquor and that give something more positive in life (Marjorie).
Though both Bill and Nick have done similar things throughout everything at the end of the evening they may be going their separate ways. They will remain friends but the reader suspects that Nick will be spending more time with Marjorie. He has let her go once and has still not forgotten about her. It is doubtful that he will let her go a second time. Though Nick is happy hunting he knows that he will be happier if he has Marjorie in his life. He just needs the courage to approach her again and to start the relationship afresh. Something that the reader feels Marjorie is prepared to do too. To try and have a fresh start with Nick. Nick has shown himself to be an intelligent young man throughout the story. If he applies his intelligence to the courting of Marjorie he will be successful. While Bill most likely will swear off women for life so strong are his feelings when it comes to women and marriage. Bill may never settle down but there is a good chance that Nick and Marjorie will rejuvenate their relationship.