Buy Study Guide Hemingway introduces the three principal characters, Francis Macomber , his wife Margot, and their safari guide Richard Wilson, over cocktails in the afternoon on the African plain following a morning of hunting. Macomber and his wife are wealthy Americans hoping to revitalize their sometimes-foundering marriage with a romantic African safari and Wilson is a jaded Englishman who runs safaris for wealthy tourists for a living. Macomber expresses his embarrassment to Wilson once more and asks Wilson not to mention his cowardice to mutual acquaintances. This is too much for Wilson, who insults Macomber in an attempt to estrange himself from husband and wife and set up an atmosphere of professional coolness for the remainder of the safari. Macomber is too friendly, however, and Wilson ends up both liking and pitying him. In the late afternoon, Macomber and Wilson go off together and shoot impala while Margot stays behind in camp looking, as Wilson puts it, like an English rose though she is American.
|Published (Last):||10 February 2018|
|PDF File Size:||10.37 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||13.4 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Buy Study Guide Hemingway introduces the three principal characters, Francis Macomber , his wife Margot, and their safari guide Richard Wilson, over cocktails in the afternoon on the African plain following a morning of hunting. Macomber and his wife are wealthy Americans hoping to revitalize their sometimes-foundering marriage with a romantic African safari and Wilson is a jaded Englishman who runs safaris for wealthy tourists for a living.
Macomber expresses his embarrassment to Wilson once more and asks Wilson not to mention his cowardice to mutual acquaintances. This is too much for Wilson, who insults Macomber in an attempt to estrange himself from husband and wife and set up an atmosphere of professional coolness for the remainder of the safari.
Macomber is too friendly, however, and Wilson ends up both liking and pitying him. In the late afternoon, Macomber and Wilson go off together and shoot impala while Margot stays behind in camp looking, as Wilson puts it, like an English rose though she is American.
Macomber successfully shoots an impala. That night after dinner, Macomber lies in his bunk and meditates on his loss of confidence and the cowardice that replaced his self-assurance. He relives the incident beginning with his attempt at sleep 24 hours earlier, which was when he first heard the roaring of the lion and became afraid of it. The day of the incident, he discussed shooting the lion with Wilson over breakfast, then the three drove off in a car to find it.
Once it appeared, Wilson encouraged Macomber to get out and shoot it, which he did, alone, after hesitating and missing a good shot. Gut-shot, the lion slunk into the bush and Wilson announced they were going in after it to finish it off.
Macomber, terrified but unable to appear so, accompanied Wilson into the bush and promptly ran when the wounded lion leaped at him. Wilson shot it and Margot witnessed the whole incident from the car. When the men return to the car, Margot kisses Wilson. Macomber also meditates on the fact that his marriage had been on the rocks before but that he was sure his wife would not leave him because he was too rich.
He was equally sure he would never leave her because she was too beautiful. He then falls asleep, waking to find his wife gone.
After two hours, Margot returns to the tent and it becomes clear that she has slept with Wilson. She refuses to discuss the matter with Macomber. The next morning, the atmosphere is strained. Presently, husband, wife, and guide start off in the car in search of buffalo. They find three and chase them in their car. Macomber and Wilson fire a volley of shots and bring down all three. One of the gun-bearers then comes limping up to the car to announce that the first buffalo Macomber shot was not killed but wounded, and has crawled off into the brush.
The car is driven back to the shooting site, and Macomber and Wilson walk into the brush in search of the buffalo, which charges Macomber. Macomber stands his ground in front of the charging animal and both he and Wilson shoot it. As it is about to hit Macomber, Margot fires from the car, shooting Macomber in the back of the head and killing him. As such, Hemingway portrays him as weak, subservient to his wife, cowardly and frustrated.
Once he conquers his fears and guns down three buffalo, he becomes empowered, emboldened, and elated. By conquering nature, he has become a man. Something else grew in its place. Main thing a man had. Made him into a man. Women knew it too. No bloody fear. He was a lifelong outdoorsman; he went hunting, fishing, camping, and boating in places as diverse as Europe, the Caribbean, the United States, and Africa.
In fact, he wrote this short story following a week safari in East Africa. This story summarizes the importance Hemingway placed on outdoor activities, especially for men. The character of Macomber comes into his own masculinity through a few seconds of shooting buffalo; the activity of hunting not only provides entertainment, excitement, and physical fitness, but it completely transforms his character and revolutionizes his relationships with others.
Margot and the reader are invited to compare Macomber to Wilson, and certainly, Wilson comes out on top in that comparison.
However, at the end of the story Wilson breaks the code he purports to live by as he hunts down buffalo in a car, a certainly unsportsmanlike, possibly cowardly, and indisputably illegal act.
Wilson may be a paragon of manly virtues after the Hemingway school of masculinity, but he is by no means perfect. The accepted wisdom is that Hemingway was a chauvinist and possibly a misogynist; women in his stories are obstacles to their male counterparts rather than positive contributors to the action.
In general, Hemingway treats Margot as a necessary evil in this story, as an inconvenient but essential component of the existence of his male characters. In addition, Wilson makes a number of sweeping and unflattering generalizations about American women of the jet set using Margot as a case study. Scholars have come down on both sides of the question. The traditional reading of the story teaches that Margot is a thoroughly grasping and cruel character who shoots to kill, but more revisionist interpretations point out that, when she pulls the trigger, it is unnecessary for her to be shooting to kill her husband because the buffalo will run him down in a few seconds anyway.
In addition, the accusations of murder that Wilson levels at her may be motivated by a desire to blackmail her into silence about the fact that he hunted the buffalo from a car, an illegal practice. Another lingering question among Hemingway scholars is whether Macomber and Margot are modeled on F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. Hemingway certainly mentioned Fitzgerald by name in some of his other stories.
The narration of this story is in the third person with an omniscient narrator; Hemingway tells the story from the points of view of Macomber, Wilson, Margot and the lion from which Macomber flees. The second technique Hemingway employs is simile and metaphor.
Hemingway's Short Stories
Synopsis[ edit ] "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" is a third-person omniscient narrative with moments of unreliable interior monologue presented mainly through the points of view of the two leading, male characters, Francis Macomber and Robert Wilson, professional hunter and guide. Francis and his wife, Margot, are on a big-game safari in generalized Africa. Earlier, Francis had panicked when a wounded lion charged him, and Margot mocks Macomber for this act of cowardice. Wilson is critical of Macomber, presented in interior monologue, but outwardly tries to shepherd Macomber toward a more accepted "code" practiced by experienced hunters. Macomber both hates and needs Wilson in spite of this. Note: Throughout the narrative, both Francis and Wilson have repeated moments of interior monologue; internal and highly critical thoughts about each other and Margot are repeatedly expressed. Her motivations are more often narrated by Wilson, who thinks very little of her, except for her beauty, choosing a man she can control and her sexuality when she is quiet.
The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
Francis Macomber is on an African safari; Macomber is thirty-five years old, a trim, fit man who holds a number of big-game fishing records. However, at the moment, he has just demonstrated that he is a coward. However, members of the safari are acting as though "nothing had happened. In a flashback, the reader realizes that Macomber and his beautiful wife, Margot, are wealthy Americans, and that this jaunt is their first safari — and that Macomber, when faced with his first lion, bolted and fled, earning the contempt of his wife. She makes no secret of this as she slips off in the middle of the night for a rendezvous with the safari guide, Robert Wilson.