The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber

Essay by bigstevehhs60College, UndergraduateA+, March 2005

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Have you ever been scared to do something that tests your courage? In Ernest Hemingway's "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber", Francis Macomber tests his courage the hard way. (Set) in Africa, Francis Macomber is on a hunting trip with his wife, Margot, and a guide named Wilson. "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" is a story filled with the theme of courage. Francis tests his courage in the lion hunt, his wife's infidelity, and in the buffalo hunt.

The first test of Francis Macomber's courage is shown during the lion hunt. Macomber had already become very nervous after listening to the lion roar all night. He was determined to kill the lion, but things went wrong after shooting twice and wounding the lion. Knowing they had to find the lion, Wilson looked at Macomber and saw "suddenly how he was trembling and the pitiful look on his face"(201).

When discussing how they needed to find the lion, Macomber said, "'I'm just scared, you know'"(211). Francis is "wanting to find courage to tell Wilson to go on and finish off the lion without him"(221). Although Macomber went with Wilson, when they found the lion he was so frightened that "he was running; running wildly, in panic in the open, running toward the stream" (225) and Wilson had to shoot the lion. Gary Harrington stated, "Macomber's running in terror from the lion brands him, by his own admission, a "coward", but the circumstances of his doing so necessitate a qualification of his self-indictment"(Harrington2).

Francis Macomber's courage is tested again after he finds out that Margot has had an affair with Wilson. Margot used his lack of courage from the lion hunt as an excuse to have an affair saying, "well, you're a coward" (250). Francis...