Course Hero. "In Our Time Study Guide." Course Hero. 5 Oct. 2017. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/In-Our-Time/>.
Course Hero. (2017, October 5). In Our Time Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/In-Our-Time/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "In Our Time Study Guide." October 5, 2017. Accessed September 29, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/In-Our-Time/.
Course Hero, "In Our Time Study Guide," October 5, 2017, accessed September 29, 2023, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/In-Our-Time/.
Nick walks through an orchard to a neighboring cottage to visit his friend Bill. A storm is coming, and Bill remarks, "She'll blow like that for three days." In the cottage, Bill offers Nick whiskey. They talk about whiskey, the Cardinals baseball team, and literature. They discuss taking English writer G.K. Chesterton fishing with them. Bill proposes they get drunk, and Nick agrees.
Bill repeats some advice his father gives about drinking. "He says opening bottles is what makes drunkards." They resolve not to open any unopened bottles in Bill's father's liquor cabinet.
Bill congratulates Nick on breaking up with Marjorie, but Nick is not sure the break-up was a good idea. Though he is unmarried, Bill discusses how awful married life is. Nick becomes quiet. He then says he couldn't help breaking up with her. "All of a sudden everything was over." He compares his helplessness to the impossibility of doing anything about an oncoming storm.
When Bill criticizes Marjorie's family, Nick says he'd rather not talk about it. Bill says they won't, because Nick might get sucked back in again by talking about Marjorie. Nick cheers up when he thinks there's a chance he could go back to Marjorie.
Claiming that they aren't drunk, they decide to take some guns to join Bill's father, who is out hunting. They hear Bill's father fire his gun. It seems to Nick his feelings are blowing away.
Bill and Nick seem sometimes to be play-acting the part of men. They are still young, but they enthusiastically imitate adult men. They discuss the progress of the Cardinals baseball team, affectionately called "the Cards." Bill practices being a connoisseur of whiskey, praising the "peat" flavor. Nick punctures this pretense at manly whiskey-tasting, pointing out that "you can't get peat into liquor." They pretend to be free men, but they are still under their fathers' dominion and under their father's roofs. Bill says his father "won't care" if they drink, but that only emphasizes how the father must permit or forbid drinking.
The more Bill praises Nick's decision to leave Marjorie, the worse Nick feels about it. Bill describes married men as lost, as having "that fat and married look," yet the marriage discussion seems to make Nick even more regretful.
While play-acting at being big men, Nick and Bill also make informed judgments about literature. Like baseball, literature becomes a contest in Nick and Bill's description of it. They wonder who is the better writer, Walpole or Chesterton, and who is "the better guy." Hemingway seems to suggest manly men care about literature as much as they care about baseball and hunting.