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The Power Of Facing Fear Essay

1103 words - 4 pages

In "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber", Ernest Hemingway takes the reader on safari to explore the boundaries of courage and fear. The story follows an upperclass American, Francis Macomber, who is on a hunting vacation with his wife, Margaret, and an English hunting guide, Robert Wilson. During this adventure, Macomber has to overcome personal adversity, and it has a very powerful effect on him. Hemingway creatively manipulates point of view and character to reveal Macomber's outlook on life before and after he faces his fear.In order to effectively uncover Macomber's station in life, Hemingway employs a tactic of changing the story's point of view frequently. Near the beginning of the story, the point of view is shown from Margaret Macomber's point of view. Margaret has always had very little respect for her husband, and when Macomber runs from a lion while hunting, she thinks even less of him. She feels that he "had just shown himself, very publicly, to be a coward." Now with this very clear picture of Macomber as a coward, Hemingway moves on to Robert Wilson's point of view, and continues to scrutinize Macomber's character. Hemingway flashes back to the lion hunt, and when Macomber has just started to show his fear in hunting the lion, Wilson think of him as "shameful". By utilizing this roving point of view, Hemingway paints a very crisp picture of Macomber as the rich American coward in the eyes of the other characters, as well as the reader.The significance of Robert Wilson is very important in this story. Wilson serves as more than a character, but as a representation of courage with which the reader can compare Macomber. Wilson is the all around, sun burned, gun toting hunter who "is really very impressive killing anything." Macomber is the rich American who only kills "˜weak' animals such as birds, ducks and antelope. Wilson's character overshadows Macomber in reputation and in action. Not only does he have a sort of hunter's code that he berates Macomber with, "You don't shoot them from cars,...", but he killed the lion, when Macomber ran. He slept with Macomber's wife, when she won't even hold Macomber's hand. Hemingway waves the Macomber-is-a-lame-coward flag in every way he can think of.With Macomber sufficiently beaten down, Hemingway starts to rebuild his character, like an army sergeant who has yelled at you long enough to strip your resolve, and is now going to make a man out of you. Macomber kills a buffalo. After finally killing something big, Macomber feels "drunken elation". Then there is an allusion that Margaret's opinion of her husband is changing when she exclaims about the kill, "You were marvellous darling". But Macomber is slow in letting his new found courage known, and Hemingway hints at it in this scene where Margaret and Wilson are discussing the killing of the buffalo: "It seemed very unfair to me," Margot said, "chasing those big helpless things in a motorcar." "Did it?" said Wilson."What would...

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