The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

While reading “The Short & Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” I focused on the question, what made his life short and happy. At first I took the interpretation of short and happy literally, translating too, living a short life (age) and happy meaning (wealth). After some thought though I realize that Hemingway meant something entirely different. Francis Macomber in the beginning of the short story is a “coward” causing his wife to loath him, and even the staff to judge and question his manhood. Finally Francis overcomes his cowardly behavior and finally “lives. “You know I don’t think I’d ever be afraid of anything again…Something happened in me after we first saw the buff and started after him. Like a dam bursting. It was pure excitement. ” It is at this moment that I think Francis begins to live life, while simultaneously become happy as he has just overcome his cowardliness. Moments later his wife (accidently? ) shoots him… Whether or not it was an accident is up for discussion, but that is what I think Hemingway meant when he titled his short story, “The Short & Happy Life of Francis Macomber. ”

Now… Did his wife kill him on purpose or was it actually an accident. This kind of confused me because I feel like I can argue both sides, however, I feel like the stronger argument is her intentionally killing her husband for the reasons below… She could of intentionally done it because of her attitude and actions prior to killing him. First off she was giving him crap about being a coward, and on top of that, I think she also slept with Wilson since unlike her husband he is not a coward. This was never actually stated but that’s how I inferred it.

Also, moments before the gunshot, Macomber at one point looks back at her and waves, she, with the rifle besides her does not wave back. Even though love is a missing component in their relationship, she would of waved back if she was feeling in control of the situation but now that Macomber is fearless he has control. I think she feels bitter and needs to retaliate because of this, thus why she pulls the trigger and “accidently” shoots him. Wilson in the end also says, “He would of left you too,” so maybe she also did it, because she, like Wilson also knew that.

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