She Did What? Essay

2128 words - 9 pages

In society, courage plays a large part in becoming a man. As defined by by the Merriam Webster dictionary, courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. In other words courage can be interpreted as the strength to overcome one’s own fears. In Ernest Hemingway’s short story, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, courage is a recurring theme that creates a plethora a different interactions between the characters. As the title implies, the main protagonist is Francis Macomber, and the story follows him through his journey through cowardice and bravey. Throughout the story, the issue of courage creates a dichotomy between the characters that offers insight into what courage might mean to the characters and how it plays a role in interpersonal relations in society. Courage, a major recurring theme in the short story, forms a base for which to analyze and explain different characters’ actions while providing insight into common societal views on courage and how it plays a role in manhood.
When analyzing each character, the reader is shown different levels of courage, and how each character responds and interacts with their own level of courage. Of the three major characters, Robert Wilson, the professional hunter, has the highest level of courage. This is reflected in how he speaks to Francis and his wife how there is no feeling of doubt in his words. One of the important thoughts Wilson brings to the table about courage is when he speaks to Macomber about how “ in Africa no white man ever bolts.” A lot of Wilson’s actions are reflected in his thoughts about no white man ever running. Bolts has the connotation of running away in a terrified manner, and therefore by saying that no white man ever bolts he is alluding to the fight or flight response to fear. By saying this he shows that Macomber took flight, and ran away, but he (like a real man should) stood his ground and fought.Wilson lives by this thought, and thinks that it is shameful and cowardly for a man to run, and therefore he never runs. This shows how courageous he is, and that he lives without fear. Later on in the story, after it is shown that Macomber has regained his courage, Wilson tells him a quote by Shakespeare stating, “By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once; we owe God a death and let it go which way it will. He that dies this year is quit for the next.” In essence, Wilson is saying that he is not afraid of death because he knows he is bound to die anyway he would prefer to choose how he dies rather than live in fear. From this quote we are inspired to see that Wilson lives without fear of death, and has conquered his fear of death and therefore showning he is courageous.
On the other hand, Francis Macomber is perceived as a coward. For the most part of the story Francis Macomber is a coward/acts cowardly, but towards the end, he gains courage for the first time in his life. However, until he shows himself...

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