Quick Death in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
Ernest Hemingway created a masterpiece of mystery in his story "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber". The mystery does not reveal itself to the reader until the end of the story, yet it leaves a lot to the imagination. At the end of the story Margaret Macomber kills her husband by accident, in order to save him from being mauled by a large Buffalo while on a safari in Africa. The mystery is whether or not this killing was truly accidental, or intentional. If it was to be considered intentional, there would certainly have to be evidence in the story suggesting such, with a clear motive as well. What makes this mystery unique is that Hemingway gives the reader numerous instances that would lead the reader to devise an acceptable motive, yet human nature tells the reader that this killing could not have been intentional. From a purely objective analysis of the story, the reader would see far more evidence supporting the theory of an intentional killing rather than an accidental one.
The clues supporting the idea that Margaret killed Francis
intentionally can best be seen when observing and studying the
background information on both Francis Macomber, and Margaret
herself. (Hemingway 1402). What is also important is that Margot
and Francis have very different personalities. This is clearly
seen when the narrator states, (Hemingway 1402).
With this small amount of background information, the true motive
for an intentional killing can be found. This can clearly be seen
in the conversation of Francis Macomber after killing the buffalo
when he states, (Hemingway 1408. "(Hemingway 1409). Robert Wilson,
the guide on the hunt, gives the reader an outside perspective
into this complex and troubled relationship. In response to the
quote above Hemingway 1409).
Robert Wilson seems to be right in his descriptions of the couple,
and their relationship throughout the story. If this is true, and
none of his presumptions about the couple are false, then he gains
more credibility towards the end of the story. It is at this point
that he becomes the advocate of Margot actions, despite the fact
that they were intentional. It is Wilson that gives the reader the
best description of the relationship between Francis and his wife.
It is his insight into Margot, however, that is the most detailed,
and which seems to suggest that she might be capable of such an
From this astute analysis of the two, Wilson shows the reader
several very important things. One is the fact, although somewhat
machiavellian, that over her husband. Another observation that I
somewhat important is the This is the cruelty that Wilson observes
in the passage above.This, as she would soon see, was not the
One of the most important passages in the story occurs in the