Analysis of The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemingway

Analysis of The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemingway

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Analysis of The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway is known for producing novels and short stories with
ambiguous endings. In his short story, "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," he
definitely leaves his readers guessing. The question is whether Margot kills her husband,
Francis, intenionally, or if she accidentally shoots him in an effort to save his life. There are many points that could be argued for both conclusions, but my observations have led me to believe that Margot did indeed shoot her husband intentionally, however, without pre-meditation.

In looking at the background of Francis and Margot, it is easy to see that the
strength of their relationship rests on their co-dependancy. They have two completely
different personalities, but that is what ultimately keeps their relationship at an
equilibrium.Their marriage is summarized by the statement, "Margot was too beautiful
for Macomber to divorce her, and Macomber had too much money for Margot ever to
leave him." Margot has complete control over their marriage, and Francis allows her to
have this control because he could not find another wife if Margot were to leave him.
This is apparent when the narrator states, "If he had been better with women, she would
probably have started to worry about him getting another new, beautiful wife; but she
knew too much about him to worry about him either."

The background information given about Francis and Margot makes a motive for
an intentional killing clear. When Margot sees the euphoria, loss of cowardice and
sudden independance that Francis gets from his pursuit of the buffalo, she realizes that
she has lost control over her husband. The change in Francis ca...


... middle of paper ...


...age because she is no longer in charge of Francis or needed by him. She realizes that he has found his own independance and that she is expendable to him. Therefore, in a sudden rage of anger, resentment and disappointment, she kills Francis.

Even though I do believe that Margot means to kill her husband, I do not think
that it is a pre-meditated event. It appears that Margot's original intention is to save
Francis by shooting the buffalo. Of course, realistically, it would be hard to stop such an animal from a far distance, and it is difficult to believe that Margot thinks she could do it. When Margot aims the gun and prepares to fire, all the negative emotions that are built up inside her cause her to make the sudden decision to take her anger out on her husband. She may have only thought about it for a second, but ultimately, it was an intentional shot.

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