The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
- After reading this story, what is Hemingway saying with this story? What is he saying about men? What gives you this impression?
After reading the story Hemingway is saying that your wife should leave you if you do not live up to Hemingway’s idea of what a manly man is. Hemingway has decided that men should be like caveman hunters almost violent in nature to be respected. He is saying that a man’s job is to be manly and make money. Everything in the story gives me this impression. Somehow it is okay with Francis that his wife kisses Wilson on the lips and is mad at him just because he’s afraid of a lion. How ridiculous and sad that he is not even surprised by her behavior. Somehow it’s okay that she is aloof and rude after he runs away from the lion.
- Are we supposed to feel any sympathy towards any of these characters? Explain your rationale with textual support.
I think we are supposed to feel sympathy towards his characters, although I do not. You are supposed to sympathize with Wilson because he is forced to do the dirty work of rich men and help them kill dead animals to impress women. “The women did not feel they were getting their money’s worth unless they shared that caught with the white Hunter”, he is also supposed to bed down any bored housewives that think having sex with a white Hunter is the thing to do. The only good thing Wilson actually did was not let Francis send some African men in to deal with the lion because they are untrained and they could be mauled." Wilson says “you’re supposed to fine them” and “which would you rather do take a good birching or lose your pay?” Wilson loses all credibility for me here because he beats the men when they don’t do what he wants them to do and then he thinks more of them for taking the beating and not turning him in because he knows they‘re starving and need any money. I hate Wilson and I’m completely unsympathetic towards him. Margot is completely unsympathetic giving her husband a hard time about the lion all day when she says “oh the lion. . . . I’ve forgotten the lion” she was cruel and evil to her husband. Of course in the end she murders him so I guess she was not meant to be a sympathetic character. Mr. Wilson is the only semi-sympathetic character I don’t think Hemingway means for him to be sympathetic I think were meant to despise him and think him a coward but I hate Hemingway so I guess I think he is a sympathetic character to spite Hemingway. He just wants to make his shrew of a wife happy and apparently murdering an innocent lion is the way to do that. That he knows she’s too old now to go and get a better husband herself and that’s the only reason she doesn’t leave must be sad for him. When he says to Wilson “why not shoot from where I am?” He is scared and wants to shoot the lion from the car I think this is when he is the most sympathetic he wants to do something to make her happy and is looking for a way out but Wilson offers him none of that.