The Three Day Blow


Ernest Hemingway

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Themes and Colors
Masculinity, Independence, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Loss and Hope Theme Icon
The Lost Generation Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Three Day Blow, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Masculinity, Independence, and Vulnerability

In “The Three-Day Blow,” Bill is a young man who idealizes manliness as independence from the commitments of marriage, money, and work. Bill celebrates fishing, writing, and above all, holding his liquor as he drinks whisky with his friend Nick, the story’s protagonist. Nick seems to agree on the surface. However, as Nick becomes more intoxicated, he realizes that this picture of manliness feels meaningless, and he is regretful in the face of his…

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Loss and Hope

In “The Three-Day Blow,” Nick, the protagonist, is drinking with his friend Bill at Bill father’s cabin. Their drunken conversation betrays little substance, as they rotate through superficial topics like baseball, alcohol, and the weather. However, Nick’s feeling of powerlessness in the face of adulthood are evident beneath the surface of the trivial matters they are discussing. He thinks despondently about his recently ended relationship, implicitly comparing it to the brutal nature of…

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The Lost Generation

In “The Three-Day Blow,” Hemingway’s detailed descriptions of the setting connote a palpable sense of time and place. Such details from the narrative reflect Hemingway’s characteristic fusing of autobiographic details about his life with fictional characters. In effect, “The Three-Day Blow” (much like Hemingway’s other writing) not only serves to tell a specific story about two young men, but it also extends beyond the characters and their particular situations to connote the generational angst of…

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