The Three Day Blow

The Storm Symbol Analysis

The Storm Symbol Icon

The storm, which the characters refer to as the “three-day blow,” represents the feelings that the protagonist, Nick, goes through as he grapples with his recent breakup with a girl named Marjorie: namely, shock, despair, and powerlessness. Bill and Nick first refer to the storm at the start of the story, noting that it marks the change in the seasons from summer to fall. When Nick discusses his breakup, he compares the brutal suddenness of the relationship ending—signaling a new “season” of life for him—to the sudden onset of an early autumn storm. Nick says, “All of a sudden everything was over,” before continuing, “I don’t know why it was. I couldn’t help it. Just like when the three-day blows come now and rip all the leaves off the trees.” Here, the storm represents Nick’s feelings of powerlessness, bewilderment, and shock at this sudden loss in his life. Despite having initiated the breakup, he feels as if his feelings took on a force of their own.

However, near the end of the story, the storm represents Nick’s newfound sense of hope and clarity. When Nick realizes he might be able to get Marjorie back, he suddenly feels a palpable sense of relief. Hemingway captures the shift in Nick’s mood from despair to relief with a new metaphor using the storm. He reflects, “Outside now the Marge business was no longer so tragic. It was not even very important. The wind blew everything like that away.” Here, the storm stands for Nick’s ability to clear his head and gain a little perspective.

The Storm Quotes in The Three Day Blow

The The Three Day Blow quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Storm. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Masculinity, Independence, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon and Schuster edition of The Three Day Blow published in 1987.
The Three-Day Blow Quotes

In back was the garage, the chicken coop and the second-growth timber like a hedge against the woods behind. The big trees swayed far over in the wind is he watched. It was the first of the autumn storms.

Related Characters: Nick, Bill
Related Symbols: The Storm
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Three Day Blow quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

The wind was blowing straight down the lake. They could see the surf along Ten Mile point.

“She's blowing,” Nick said.

“She'll blow like that for three days,” Bill said.

Related Characters: Nick (speaker), Bill (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Storm
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“It's good when the fall storms come, isn't it?” Nick said.

“It's swell.”

“It's the best time of year,” Nick said.

Related Characters: Nick (speaker), Bill (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Storm
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“All of a sudden everything was over […] I don't know why it was. I couldn't help it. Just like when the three-day blows come now and rip all the leaves off the trees.”

Related Characters: Nick (speaker), Bill, Marjorie (“Marge”)
Related Symbols: The Storm
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Outside now the Marge business was no longer so tragic. It was not even very important. The wind blew everything like that away. […] None of it was important now. The wind blew it out of his head.

Related Characters: Nick, Bill, Marjorie (“Marge”)
Related Symbols: The Storm
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Three Day Blow LitChart as a printable PDF.
The three day blow.pdf.medium

The Storm Symbol Timeline in The Three Day Blow

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Storm appears in The Three Day Blow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Three-Day Blow
Loss and Hope Theme Icon
...timber” piled up against the trees that are swaying in the wind of the approaching storm. Bill exits the cottage, and he and Nick greet each other. Watching the waves on... (full context)
Masculinity, Independence, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Loss and Hope Theme Icon
...bottle and refills Nick’s glass. Nick muses that it’s a good time when the fall storms come around, and Bill agrees that it’s “swell.” They are happy they are at the... (full context)
Masculinity, Independence, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Loss and Hope Theme Icon
The Lost Generation Theme Icon
...“All of a sudden everything was over.” He compares this feeling to the way the storm outside, saying that it’s “just like when the three-day blows come now and rip all... (full context)
Masculinity, Independence, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Loss and Hope Theme Icon
...him. In fact, it doesn’t even feel that “important” any more. He reflects that the storm blew it out of his head. (full context)
Masculinity, Independence, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Loss and Hope Theme Icon
The Lost Generation Theme Icon
...seeing if they can shoot anything on the way. As they head off into the storm, Nick is relieved that he has stopped dwelling on his feelings about Marge, thinking, “None... (full context)