While one may look at Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" and Ernest Hemmingway's "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and pass them off as basically the same, he should be reminded of the cliché "don't judge a book by its cover." Although both are short stories, each work encompasses a number of elements that are characteristically associated with either commercial or literary fiction. By evaluating the author's use of elements of fiction, such as plot, theme, and characterization, and the literary devices diction, figurative language, and detail, one can come to the conclusion that neither story is better than the other.
Because the importance of plot and characterization vary based upon a work's classification as either commercial or literary, "The Most Dangerous Game" and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" are very different from one another. In his work, Connell uses the element of surprise to keep his readers wondering what's going to happen next. This surprise element, which is created through Reinsford's series of traps, allows the reader to chronologically navigate the story. Additionally, Connell heavily relies upon chance and coincidence than practicality. Examples of this include Reinsford's miraculous weaving stills and his ability to secretly slip into bedrooms. While the plot of "The Most Dangerous Game" is characteristically commercial, the plot of "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" is unquestionably literary. This is most evident through the conflicts involving actions, desires, and wills that Hemmingway's characters experience. For instance, Macomber's conflict involves becoming more courageous and thereby handling his wife, his wife's conflict involves remaining in control of her husband, and Wilson's conflict involves being torn between the two. These conflicts bring about a significance. Additionally, the plot is not chronologically organized; the reader is brought to a scene, then he is taken to the events...
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