Characters, Motivation, and Interpretation of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”
“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” is a short story by Ernest Hemingway. It is a tragic story of an American couple on a hunting game in Africa. In this short story, Hemingway choreographs the characters around each other and uses “love” to motivate the characters. Hemingway also leaves the ending with two possible answers, but there is only one that is right.
The story begins with Francis and Margaret Macomber on a hunting game in Africa with their experienced guide, Robert Wilson. Francis is man of wealth that can afford a private hunting trip. The ways that Francis Macomber interacted with the other characters, did, said, and thought things gives clue to his character. Hemingway does this by not telling about him, but what he does, say, and thinks. He is characterized as a wimp because he is more safe shooting from the car than stalking his prey on foot. Margaret Macomber is Francis’ beautiful but a demanding wife. She is embarrassed by Francis’ cowardice, especially when he failed to kill a lion. She is also embarrassed to be married to an unmanly husband. Robert Wilson, the Macomber’s guide, is a handsome, evil, and masculine hunter, the opposite of Francis, which attracts Margot. The Macomber’s marriage is not a happy one, but “Margot was too beautiful for Macomber to divorce her and Macomber had too much money for Margot ever to leave him” (Pg. 1258).
The three main characters each have their own motivations. Margot, “an extremely handsome and well-kept woman,” is embarrassed by Macomber and because of this; she cheats on Macomber many times and with Wilson. “There wasn’t going to be any of that. You promised there wouldn’t be.” (pg. 1258) shows that she has cheated on him before. Francis is motivated by Wilson, by pretending to be him, a hunter and a man. When Margot cheats on Francis with Wilson and he confronts her, which is the start of Francis rise...
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