The short story “The Three Day Blow” is a lengthy conversation between Nick Adams and his friend Bill, who comes and is jovial at the fact that Nick had just broken up with his girlfriend Marge. They spend their time drinking, and a conversation entails. Nick, understandably, is distraught and saddened by the fact that he has just broken up with Marge, and seeks Bill’s assurance that he in fact, has done the right thing. Bill does not disappoint, but assures and reassures Nick that breaking up with Marge was the best and necessary thing to do. Here a notable quote that Bill uses as one of his main reasons arguing for this, “if you hadn’t, by now you’d be back home working trying to get enough money to get married…once a man’s married, he’s absolutely bitched, he hasn’t got anything more. Nothing.” (Hemingway 46) However, this just Bill’s negative influence on Nick in two ways: (1) causing Nick to end his relationship with Marge because of selfish reasons, and (2) assuring Nick’s actions just to benefit himself and his personal agenda.
In the prequel to this story, “The End of Something”, we are introduced to Bill, as Nick, who wants to be alone after Marge had left the beach, sends him off. We find out that breaking up with Marge was a premeditated move that was conspired between Bill and Nick. After Marge leaves, we find out that Bill was there the whole time, and appears out of the woods, and asks, “did she go all alright?” (Hemingway 35) Nick makes the mistake of caving into Bill’s consistent and seemingly valid reasons to break up with Marge. Later on, during the conversation, Bill seemingly praises Nick for his decision to break up with Marge, “you were very wise, Wemedge…to bust off that Marge business.” (Hemingway 46) Nick is shaken and obviously heartbroken by his decision, but Bill is there to “encourage” his friend that his choice was the right one in the long term. You can assume correctly that Nick uses whiskey as a mean of...
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