Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hemingway "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"

In this short story by famous writer Ernest Hemingway, which is titled "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"; I feel as though this story could best be summarized as being about an wealthy and socially prominent American couple in Africa, on an safari. Their names are Francis and Margot Macomber. Robert Wilson is an professional hunter, that is accompanying them on the safari. It is important to know, that the relationship between the Macombers has hit an sour note. Also, even though Wilson hides his thoughts from Francis; he has little respect for Macomber. This is due to the fact, that Francis had panicked and fled while trying to murder an lion during an hunt. Macomber is deeply embarrassed by the situation, even despite Wilson's assurances about the whole situation.
One question that I had about the story, was "what would become of the characters at the story's conclusion"?. I was wondering, if Margot Macomber was going to get away with the murder of the Francis Macomber. Also, one must wonder if she had really intended to kill him or not?.
When it comes to connections to this story and other course readings, I was reminded of "The Silver Dish". This is due to the fact, that both stories you had to reread in order to be able to understand what exactly was going on in the story. Also in both stories, you did not know exactly how they were going to end.
Lastly, whenever I reflect on other readings that were conducted throughout my lifespan, the story by Ernest Hemingway titled " The Snows of  Kilimanjaro" comes to mind. This story, I was required to read as part of an "Introduction to English" course, that I had to take my first year at community college. The story could have been summarized as being about the relationship between an man and his wife. The main character of the story was an writer by the name of Harry. While Harry is dying on his deathbed in Africa, he reflects on his life. He thinks about his problems with drinking, his martial problems to his wife Helen, and the other women that he was engaged with. It is interesting to note, that throughout his reflections; he refers to his wife as simply being "she". It is note until the end of the story, that the reader learns what his wife's name was actually Helen. This story reminds me very much of "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber". This is due to the fact, that both stories featured couples that had unhappy marriages.
Lastly, I feel as though Ernest Hemingway was an very good and talented writer in his time. However, I am not an huge fan of his works. This story was long and I had to go back and reread several parts, just to make sure that I was able to get an grasp of what Hemingway was possibly trying to say. At times, I felt more sorry for the animals getting killed, than I did for the humans in the story. This is due to the fact, that the animals are innocent creatures. However, the characters in the story are not ones that I can identify with. Many of the characters seemed obssessed with greed and competition.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to make several general statements, concerning this short story. One comment, is that the character of Margot Macomber is very strong and domineering. You almost get the sense, that the Macombers did not want to be married to one another. It appears as though Margot had infeldelity issues. This story is similiar to "The Waste Land", were the women were lonely in an bar. You almost get the smae sense of similiar issues in this story as well. Also, the story seems to exhibit the theme, that if an female is manipulative, she is considered to be bad. However, an manipulative male is considered to be clever and skilled. Lastly, this story seems to also be an battle between man and beast. However, like the wild creatures succumb at the end of the story, the man named Francis succumbs to death as well. Also, one must ask the question if "the woman meant to shoot the man or was it purely by accident"?.