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
...view middle of the document...
Like a dam bursting. It was pure
excitement." If Francis is no longer afraid of anything, then it is possible that he could walk away from Margot. It is also possible that he could find another wife with his loss of cowardice. When Margot says, in regard to Francis' performance with the buffalo, "I hated it....I loathed it," it is apparent that Margot now realizes that the control she had over her husband is gone. Francis' newly discovered independance destroys the equilibrium in their relationship and leaves Margot on the loosing side of a marriage that she knows is coming to an end.
Another important issue regarding the killing of Francis Macomber is the
credibility of the safari guide, Robert Wilson. He gives the reader an outside perspective of the relationship between Francis and Margot, but it is whether or not his presumptions are accurate that deems him credible or not. When Margot tries to downplay the killing of the buffalos by saying, "You're both talking rot...Just because you've chased some helpless animals in a motor car, you talk like heroes, " Wilson thinks to himself, "She's worried about it already." It is obvious that Wilson accurately interprets the state of the relationship between Francis and Margot because he sees the way that Margot controls her husband. The clear understanding of the relationship that Wilson shows throughout the story proves that he is indeed credible.
The importance of Wilson's credibility comes into play at the end of the story
when he seems to support the action taken by Margot against her husband. In response to
the killing Wilson says to Margot, "That was a pretty thing to do...He would have left you too." This statement shows that Wilson believes the shot was intentional. Since he