The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber Essay

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Three’s a Crowd “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Known by many, this common phrase has few words, but a intense meaning. In Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” the overcoming of fear is shown throughout the story. Francis Macomber and his wife Margaret Macomber are on an African safari with a man name Robert Wilson. Hemingway portrays Francis Macomber as wealthy and beautiful, yet cowardly. Macomber's wife Margaret also young and beautiful, but seemingly dissatisfied with her husband of eleven years. Robert Wilson is portrayed as a fearless man that has little regard for anyone but himself. The story is focused around Francis Macomber’s cowardly actions and his attempt to become…show more content…
In addition to the conflict in the story, there are scenes of rising action. One example of rising action occurs when Wilson and Macomber return to the wild to hunt for a lion once again. Macomber is able to get a shot off but only able to wound the lion before it runs away. As Wilson and Macomber search for the wounded lion to finish it off, he inevitably runs away frightened for a second time. Hemingway writes Macomber, “was running; running wildly, in panic in the open, running toward the stream.” As a result of this instance, Macomber’s wife takes a thriving interest in Wilson. Hemingway writes, “Once he had reached over to take his wife’s hand . . . she had removed her hand from his . . . his wife had reached forward and put her hand on Wilson’s shoulder . . . and kissed him on the mouth.” Later, Macomber’s wife sleeps with Wilson, which will completely change Macomber’s persona for the rest of the story. Macomber is so overcome with anger, his character quickly changes from cowardly to courageous. Finally, the conflict and the rising action of Hemingway’s story leads to the climax. This occurs when Wilson, Macomber, and his wife take their final journey into the wild. As a result of the sheer anger Macomber has for Wilson and his wife, his fear is drowned by adrenaline. Macomber instantly takes on the characteristics of Wilson as he takes out two buffalo on the journey. At this point, Wilson respects this
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