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Quick Death In The Short Happy Life Of Francis Macomber

1938 words - 8 pages

Quick Death in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

Ernest Hemingway created a masterpiece of mystery in his story "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber". The mystery does not reveal itself to the reader until the end of the story, yet it leaves a lot to the imagination. At the end of the story Margaret Macomber kills her husband by accident, in order to save him from being mauled by a large Buffalo while on a safari in Africa. The mystery is whether or not this killing was truly accidental, or intentional. If it was to be considered intentional, there would certainly have to be evidence in the story suggesting such, with a clear motive as well. What makes this mystery unique is that Hemingway gives the reader numerous instances that would lead the reader to devise an acceptable motive, yet human nature tells the reader that this killing could not have been intentional. From a purely objective analysis of the story, the reader would see far more evidence supporting the theory of an intentional killing rather than an accidental one.


The clues supporting the idea that Margaret killed Francis

intentionally can best be seen when observing and studying the

background information on both Francis Macomber, and Margaret

herself. (Hemingway 1402). What is also important is that Margot

and Francis have very different personalities. This is clearly

seen when the narrator states, (Hemingway 1402).


With this small amount of background information, the true motive

for an intentional killing can be found.  This can clearly be seen

in the conversation of Francis Macomber after killing the buffalo

when he states, (Hemingway 1408. "(Hemingway 1409). Robert Wilson,

the guide on the hunt, gives the reader an outside perspective

into this complex and troubled relationship. In response to the

quote above Hemingway 1409).


Robert Wilson seems to be right in his descriptions of the couple,

and their relationship throughout the story. If this is true, and

none of his presumptions about the couple are false, then he gains

more credibility towards the end of the story. It is at this point

that he becomes the advocate of Margot actions, despite the fact

that they were intentional. It is Wilson that gives the reader the

best description of the relationship between Francis and his wife.

It is his insight into Margot, however, that is the most detailed,

and which seems to suggest that she might be capable of such an



From this astute analysis of the two, Wilson shows the reader

several very important things. One is the fact, although somewhat

machiavellian, that over her husband. Another observation that I

somewhat important is the This is the cruelty that Wilson observes

in the passage above.This, as she would soon see, was not the



One of the most important passages in the story occurs in the


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