Class 11 | The Magic of Words
The Three Day Blow
Writer: Ernest Hemingway
‘The Three Day Blow’ is a dramatic story by the most influential author Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961). He had won the Nobel Prize in 1954 for his book “The Old Man and the Sea” (1952). Nick is the main character of the story. There is the other character named Bill who was the sincere friend of Nick.
The rain stopped as Nick walked into the road that went up through the orchard. But the fall wind was blowing. The road came to the orchard on to the top of the hill. There was a cottage which belongs to Bill and his father. Nick went to the cottage. Bill came out and welcomed him and let him inside the room.
Bill and Nick viewed natural beauty. They talked about the weather and the blowing wind. Bill said that the wind would blow like that for three days. They went inside the cottage. They drank wine sitting by the fire. They talked about the games especially the baseball game, books, swimming, and their fathers. Once Nick fell in love with a girl named Marge (Marjorie). They had planned to marry also but unfortunately, their relationship broke down because of the bad attitude of her woman who disliked Nick and spread rumours that Nick had already got engaged. Perhaps they would never see each other again. Nostalgias made Nick sad and upset and felt isolated.
But again he thought that what had happened in the past might have been good. This feeling made him happy. Bill and Nick started to talk as previously. Carrying guns they went out for hunting delightfully.
Despite all the male bonding in this story, it reveals that Nick does have a soft spot for the feminine. Bill does not want to see Nick married, but Nick is unsure that he has made the right decision regarding Marjorie. Perhaps he does want marriage, love, and domesticity. Nick is not entirely masculine, therefore. He is constantly deciding whether to be a man’s man or a family man.
The three-day blow is also symbolic of this stage in Nick’s life. As a young man, he is in a flurry trying to decide what kind of person to become. Further, the early twentieth century is a moment of a massive change from rusticity to modernity. The three-day blow, then, represents this time of change and chaos in the world as well as in the life of a young man. This term, three-day blow, is also infused with a biblical connotation, summoning the idea of the forty-day flood, for example. Such a radical weather phenomenon seems invoked, then, not only by life and societal changes but by spiritual decree as well.
Important Questions and Answers :
1. What did Nick and Bill talk about?
Ans: Nick and Bill talked about four things: Baseball, Writers, Their Fathers and about Nick’s beloved. When they met at Bill’s house, they sat in front of the fire and drank Irish Whisky. They started their conversation like any normal young men. They talked about their favourite game, which was baseball. But they were not satisfied with their team, Card, performed. Then they talked about their favourite novelist Walpole and Chesterton. Out of them, the former was a better human whereas the latter was a better writer. They reconfirmed the age-old belief that one is remembered either for his work or for his behaviour. After that, they talked about their father. Nick’s father was a doctor, whereas Bill’s father was a painter. They both found their father better person. However, they also accepted that Nick’s father has missed a lot of things by not drinking wine.
The last topic they talked on was about the beloved of Nick, Marjorie. They had quarrelled and busted up recently. The event had disturbed Nick mentally. In spite of Bill’s several attempts, he was not able to forget her. During the talk, he realized that there was a possibility for their reunion. That realization made him feel better and filled new energy in Nick. After that, they went out hunting.
2. Describe the connection between the mental ordeal of Nick and the title of the story.
Ans: There is a clear analogy between the tile “The Three Day Blow” and the mental ordeal Nick goes through. The movements start from his mental conflict, grow with suffering and culminate with a sense of reconciliation. When a storm comes, everything in nature is taken by surprise and before giving enough time a lot of damage is done. Similarly, Nick and Marjorie quarrel and before they can handle the situation, they get separated. It disturbs Nick mentally. On the second day of the storm, when the leaves of the tree are blown away, it looks pathetic. The condition of Nick is also the same. He suffers a lot due to his separation from Marjorie, who is blown away like a leaf in the storm from Nick’s life. The suffering goes as time passes. On the third day, when the storm is over, there comes a new chance for a new creation in nature. Similarly, at the last of the story, we find Nick hopeful about his reunion with his beloved. This sense gives him mental peace.
3. The story is presented in a sequence of approximately seven scenes. Can you find them? Ans: The seven scenes excluding the opening and exposition could be as following
Scene 1: Nick and Bill meet outside the cottage of the latter.
Scene 2: They sit near fire drinking and talking
Scene 3: Nick brings a chunk through the kitchen
Scene 4: They put the chunk on the fire
Scene 5: Nick looks at the mirror while coming with water from the kitchen
Scene 6: They again sit near fire, drink and talk about Marjorie (Nick’s Beloved)
Scene 7: They come out of the cottage for hunting with their shotguns.
4. Describe “The Three Day Blow” as a dramatic story.
Ans: “The Three Day Blow” can be called a dramatic story for a couple of reasons. They are the maximum of use of dialogues and the scenic division in the story. Actually the elements like plot, character, setting and theme are shared by other genres of literature as well. We can find the use of dialogues and actions are minimal in fictions. They rely on narrations most of the time. Therefore the story “The Three Day Blow” by Ernest Hemingway seems quite close to a drama.