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Summative Essay of the Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber


In this paper essay editing services, will present a summative essay based on the short story Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber which was written by Ernest Hemingway. The author of the story is one of the most famous writers of the modern times (Gale 3). Oak Park, Illinois is the place where Hemingway grew up and he was born in 1899 (Gale 3). He experienced many things in the woods of Michigan where his family lived and made his imagination tickle in that landscape and setting. It is undeniable that The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is an adventurous tale which comes close to nature and hunting. The short fiction written by Hemingway was actually a shadow of an actual event in Kenya wherein a wife was implicated in the death of her husband founded on the existence of another lover. The said scandal was never disclosed by the media for obvious reasons. In fact after short considerations experienced writers from essay writers service concluded that, the story is not far from the real characteristic of Hemingway, his love of sports and outdoor activities. The lifestyle of the writer which is rugged and adventurous inspires imitators across the globe. In addition, Hemingway’s list of interests and profile such as being a hunter, fisherman, primary witness of various wars, and as avid bullfighting fan made him credible to write the story. Aside from that, the story was first published in an issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine in 1936 which stirred many readers from then on (Gale 2).  Under the framework of this essay order online other works of Hemingway was studied in details.


There is more mystery in the character of Margaret Macomber compared to her husband Francis. Another compeling character of the story is Robert Wilson who is a professional hunter and guide. Interestingly, the rich couple Margaret or otherwise known as Margot and Francis Macomber   are Americans who stayed in Africa on a safari. Both hired a professsional guide and hunter named Robert Wilson to accompany their trail in the jungles of Africa. Other characters of the story include the two gun bearers who always accompany them every hunting activity. All the characters fall into places as the story unfolds its mystery. Going back to Margaret Macomber, there are three things about her that made the ending of the story stir debates through the years. First, Margot is beautiful yet wise. From the very start, the woman knows how to get what she wants. Her marriage to Francis was based on love, beauty and money. But there was no commitment in the marriage partnership of the couple. As a result, she was married to a wealthy man named Francis Macomber and free to love another interesting man named Robert Wilson using her wits and cunning devices. Second, Margot is also an opportunist who does not have a heart for her husband. How will you explain the attitude of Margot in not understanding the fears of her husband? Instead of encouraging Francis, what the lady did was to find a new man who was just their own guest and paid. While it is true that Francis is a coward, he had a kind heart of which Hemingway skillfully showed in the story. The sympathy of the writer was obviously of the poor husband of Margot. And third, Margot is a traitor who killed his husband as if she performed it by accident. In the earlier part of the story, it was revealed that Francis is aware that his wife stayed outside the tent for a long time at night. And yet, Francis never confronted his wife about it so as to make the latter feel humiliated. Although Francis was so mad of Robert Wilson, he was able to forgive him heartily and went with him in the jungle to hunt buffalo, lion, and other animals. In connection, Margot shot her husband while fighting against a bull which caused the death of the latter. Essentially, we knew and understood that it was not truly an accident but a pre-meditated criminal act. That event leads us to think that Margot and Wilson took concerted efforts to end the life of Francis. The character of Robert Wilson is very deceiving in the story. As explained, Wilson is an American professional hunter and guide for people camping in Africa. Wilson is like an animal playing in the park-like landscape of Africa. Aside from the fact that he is an animal hunter, he also hunts the hearts of women he would meet in his working assignments. The latest victim of Wilson is Margot who is a beautiful wife of Francis. Wilson seemed to like Francis ands interested in guiding him for his hunting adventures. Wilson seemed to be willing to help Francis hunt the lion and the bulls giving praises every time the latter shoots well to kill their prey. But the truth is that Wilson has little respect for the husband of his secret lover Margot. For how quick we should realize that they both wanted to take Francis out of the picture? It is unbelievable that the two close companions of Francis would end the life of the latter and act as if it was an accident at all. Wilson is not a true friend and a traitor to Francis. From the very beginning, Wilson cannot be trusted by the way he looks at the wife of his employer. Francis Macomber is a wealthy man who believed that his wife loved him. But Hemingway injected in the story that the beauty of Margot would make him stay true to her. On the other hand, the wealth of Francis would make his wife stay true to him. It was ironic that this idea did not hold true in the end of the story. Francis was not aware that his wife initially turned her back on him when he showed fear and cowardice in his hunting adventures. He was not also aware of the cunning stares of Wilson towards his wife Margaret. In short, he remained true to himself and the two people who destroyed his life and unaware of the danger lurking behind him. The park-like setting of Africa made him a victim of hunting that was founded by betrayal and disrespect. Francis played well his part by going to the hunting schedules that Wilson guided. He also managed to stand the harsh treatment of his wife against him. Amazingly, Francis even smiled for the first time when eventually he felt strength and power in hitting the lion and the buffalos. It was ended when his wife killed him by shooting from the truck which is supposed to be not allowed in hunting rules. The gun bearers were made witnesses of the accident then.


The main setting of the story is the hunting expedition of the Macomber’s family in Africa. The silent antagonist of the story is Wilson and the obvious traitor is the wife of Francis who was attracted to their guide Wilson. The story was wielded in the guise of friendship and fun wherein hunting brings adventure and fun to Francis, Margot, and Wilson. However, the themes of cowardice and courage enveloped the whole structure of the short fiction of Hemingway. Both courage and cowardice was displayed by the character of Francis Macomber.   In the theme of cowardice, Francis was really afraid of the lion especially when he heard it roar through the night. His wife Margot even told him to wake her up when the lion roars because it is an entertaining sound to hear. Aside from that, even when the lion was already hit by the gun, he was still afraid to be near of the dying lion. His wife again was disgusted of the said act of her husband. But the real fear of her husband was actually founded on the fact that she is attracted to Wilson. Although the said thought cannot be proven by Francis, he continued be calm and focus on his hunting adventures. It is reasonable for Francis to be afraid of the lion because he was not a hunter by profession. He was not a hunter by nature to easily arrange a face-to-face meeting with his dying prey. After all, he is not sure if the lion really died and is no longer a danger for them. In other words, the fear and cowardice of Francis was founded on his lack of experience in hunting lions. On the other hand, we could say that Wilson is brave and courageous because he was a hunter by nature. Wilson makes a living by hunting which makes him get used of getting near a dying lion. Hence, the themes of cowardice and courage were used by the author in the most pressing and intelligent way that makes the character move in accordance with their weaknesses. The analysis is that, Wilson does not have the right to show disrespect towards Francis because he was a coward for the reason that the latter is not a hunter by nature. On the other hand, Wilson must not boast to Francis and Margot that he is courageous for he is a professional hunter and it is expected of him to be courageous by then.    


The style used by the author in writing the story is symbolism and irony. The concepts of camp, jungle, and betrayal are being defined in the story to let the characters move freely in the world they owned. For example, the camp is the place where Francis belongs, because the place meant comfort and peace for him. On the other hand, the jungle is the place meant for Wilson because he is a hunter by nature who loves outdoor activities (Bernardo 1). The way Margot treat her husband is a sign of betrayal which would result in the short happy life of Francis Macomber. There is also an element of surprise in the story because it was hard to believe that Margot would shoot her husband who was fighting against a charging buffalo. Other readers may even think at first that Francis might be killed of the charging buffalo that they hunted.  

Historical Context

The story was probably written by Hemingway in the mid-1930s (Gale 4). It could be remembered that this was the time when severe poverty was experienced by so many people. The Americans was beset by the Great Depression which makes people lost their jobs and unable to provide support and protect their families. Apart from that, the Macomber family was able to afford a hunting expedition in Africa unmindful of the effects of the Great Depression. Yet, the Macomber family does not have a child to take care of; hence it is understandable that they could freely roam around the world. Besides, Francis Macomber is a rich person who can surely afford a trip to Africa with his wife and paying a guide for that trip.  

Critical Overview

In the jungles of Africa, the Macomber couple shared adventures with Wilson for a hunting expedition. The featured animals like buffalo and lion are subject to the hunting acumen of Wilson. However, we come to think that Francis was also a prey to the cunning devices set by his wife who was attracted to Wilson. The budding romance between Wilson and Margot was not emphasized or expressly stated in the story, but if we examine every word about their interactions with each other, Francis can be described as betrayed by his wife. In the last part of the story, Margot cried hard but never showed grief over the death of her husband. In fact, Wilson commented that Margot should have poisoned him instead of using the gun. It is clear that Margot wanted to be with Wilson and tried to find ways to get rid of her husband.    


The story is one of a kind because of its artistry and depth. There are myriad lessons that can be learned from the story too. The author showed empathy to Francis because of the latter’s honesty and genuineness. Besides, husbands must be aware of people who are trying to be close to their wives for we cannot tell when a betrayal could start which could pose danger to the marriage. The hunting professional named Wilson created a stir in the last part of the story because he showed happiness when Francis was killed by his wife. He even assured Margot that it was just an accident and that witnesses are present in the event. In conclusion, we cannot tell why Margot really killed her husband but we could understand how Wilson assured her that everything will be fine. Wilson is happy upon the death of his lover’s husband. Therefore, the story revolved around in the concept of courage, fear, deception, and mystery.  


Bernardo, Karen. “Ernest Hemingway’s The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber”. 2005. Book Rags. Retrieved June 15, 2009 <http://www.storybites.com/hemingwaymacomber2.html >. Gale, Thomson. “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”. 2005. Book Rags. Retrieved June 15, 2009 <http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-francismacomber/bio.html >.


Category: Essay Examples