The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

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Three’s a Crowd
“We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Known by many, this common phrase has few words, but a intense meaning. In Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” the overcoming of fear is shown throughout the story. Francis Macomber and his wife Margaret Macomber are on an African safari with a man name Robert Wilson. Hemingway portrays Francis Macomber as wealthy and beautiful, yet cowardly. Macomber's wife Margaret also young and beautiful, but seemingly dissatisfied with her husband of eleven years. Robert Wilson is portrayed as a fearless man that has little regard for anyone but himself. The story is focused around Francis Macomber’s cowardly actions and his attempt to become courageous, which inevitably leads to his death. The story contains different types of conflict and rising actions that lead to the unforeseen climax. In Hemingway’s short story, there are several types of conflict portrayed by the main character Francis Macomber. The initial conflict is Macomber with himself, suggesting an internal conflict. This is shown as Macomber is disappointed with himself for acting cowardly on his first encounter with a lion. Macomber says to Wilson, “I can’t thank you for what you did”, and admits that he “bolted like a rabbit.” His words suggest Macomber was afraid, and needed to be saved by Wilson. The next conflict in the story is Macomber’s conflict with the wild. This is portrayed as Macomber struggles with his fear of wild animals and his attempt to overcome those fears. Another conflict is the obvious conflict Macomber has with Robert Wilson. In addition to feeling inadequate against Wilson’s many talents in the wild, there is also the fact Wilson beds Macomber’s wife. Lastly, there is the conflict Macomber has with his wife. This is portrayed throughout the story but becomes more relevant when Macomber’s wife sleeps with Wilson. Macomber says, “You said if we made this trip there...
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