February 17, 2012
Who’s the Coward Now?
Characteristic of most of Ernest Hemingway’s works, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” begins with a man and a woman seemingly happily in love but ends with that very love turning on itself and resulting in tragedy. The events leading up to their downfall tell a story of a lack of consistency, and a person’s true character being shown. The main themes of this story are courage and cowardice which are shown through all three characters: Francis, Wilson, and Margot.
Francis Macomber begins his immediate decent when he embodies the theme of cowardice in the beginning of the story. When he encountered a wounded lion, he ran in fear and had to be saved by Wilson, the tour guide. This one decision cost Francis everything. The first consequence of his cowardly actions was the reaction that his wife had. Margot had lost all sense of protection from her husband when she had watched her husband run in fear. She even expressed her discontent with his actions almost to a point of mockery. Margot was quick to point out all of Macomber’s flaws and mistakes and to raise up Wilson, who was appearing more attractive and appealing to her by the second. But Francis, being a kind and gentle man, did not react in anger. Instead he began his plot to win back his wife’s affection. While most men would probably go after the other man which their wife had transferred her attention towards, Francis was from thence forward looking for ways to regain his sense of manhood in his beloved wife’s eyes. One day when the three were out on their safari, Francis spotted his chance when he ran across some buffalo. Without hesitation, Francis shot and killed two buffalo. There was also a third buffalo that he had shot and appeared to be dead but was only severely wounded. Francis had shown bravery but was no match for the wounded buffalo that had begun to charge towards him. Wilson, once again, stepped in to save the day but unfortunately, Francis...
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