“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” Discussion Questions
Directions: Respond THOROUGHLY to the following questions/prompts based on your careful reading of this Hemingway short story!
1. Discuss the opening scene. What is the effect of the story’s beginning with this scene, and then presenting a chronologically earlier scene later? What would be gained, and what would be lost, if the shooting of the lion were presented first?
2. Did your responses to the three main characters change as you read the story? Which is the more sympathetic male figure, Robert Wilson or Francis Macomber?
3. In a literary story, dialogue often has one meaning on the surface but upon close reading and rereading (clarifying) reveals deeper aspects of the characters and their relationships. Find two examples of such exchanges in the story.
4. The story intertwines two narrative strands, the story of the hunting expedition and the story of the Macombers’ marriage. How are these related to each other?
5. The title “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” has several possible meanings. Initially, how did you interpret the title? How did your interpretations change after a second reading?
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