Hemingway's Underdeveloped Women Vs. Defective Men In His Short Stories

Essay by deshongeHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 2007

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Ernest Hemingway's terse writing style often causes his works, and more specifically his characters, to be viewed as overly simplistic. A thorough prodding and analysis does reveal the lack of depth in his females, but allows the gems of his work, his male characters, to be thoroughly interrogated. The reoccurring male to female relationships that exist throughout a number of his stories contrast the empathetically understandable females with the complex and introverted males. Such pairs exist in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and Hills Like White Elephants.

In "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber", Mrs. Macomber is portrayed as a cruel wife who is ashamed at her husbands cowardice. This common life circumstance is used to portray a generic, depthless character. She is understandably upset by her husbands behavior and responds to it in a spiteful manner which paints a cheap character sketch in the readers mind, but leaves no incite into her mind and motivation.

Her lack of willingness to leave her husbands shame at rest reminds the reader of some cruel antagonist in their own lives thus creating a falsely intricate character facade. Francis, on the other hand is an individual. His cowardice and abnormal attitude of submission to his insensitive wife sculpt him as multidimensional character. In the story Francis is defective and his wife, representing the stereotype of cruelty exploits his weakness.

At the surface, the male to female relationship in The Snows of Kilimanjaro, could in some ways be viewed as an inverse of the one seen in the previously mentioned story due to the fact that here the male is cruel to a submissive female. The idea of the underdeveloped woman vs. defective man is still prevalent in this story with the woman playing...