Francis Macomber and Robert Wilson. Margot mocks Macomber for this act of cowardice. Wilson is critical of Macomber, presented in interior monologue, but outwardly tries to shepherd Macomber toward a more accepted “code” practiced by experienced hunters. In flashback, the short happy life of francis macomber text pdf experience Francis’ cowardly run from his wounded and charging lion.
We also learn of Margot’s adultery, punctuated by sleeping with Wilson the night after Francis’ cowardly run. Wilson both kills Francis’ wounded lion and has sex with his unhappy wife. Macomber both hates and needs Wilson in spite of this. As Wilson puts it, this is Francis’ chance to come of age, to become a man. Note: Throughout the narrative, both Francis and Wilson have repeated moments of interior monologue, unreliable, but still their internal and highly critical thoughts about each other and Margot are repeatedly expressed. Rarely is Margot given this internal voice, and when it is allowed, it blurs with the omniscient narrator’s. Her motivations are more often narrated by Wilson, the great white hunter, who thinks very little of her, except for her beauty and her sexuality when she is quiet.
Her spoken dialogue is often minimized by both Macomber and Wilson. Margot’s expressiveness is cast by her audibility and visuality. Macomber and Wilson hunt together and shoot three buffalo. Two of the buffalo are killed, but the first is only wounded and retreats into the bush. They all three drink whisky in celebration. Margot even shows appreciation for Francis’ kill, though, she quickly becomes unsettled as pointed out by Wilson, who again in interior monologue, turns his critical eye on Margot.
He senses a shift in her viewpoint toward her husband. In his point of view, she now fears her husband’s growing confidence. Wilson is proud of Francis and feels his job is done. He’s helped Francis stand up to his adulterous wife.
He’s helped him kill a buffalo. At no time does Wilson take responsibility for his part in the adultery. He even provides a double cot in his tent in order to provide better service. He is merely satisfying the expectation of him as the great, white, male hunter by over privileged men and women. The gun-bearers report that the first buffalo has not died and has gone into the tall grass. Wilson dismisses the sexual trifle and quickly refocuses on Macomber and helps him track the wounded buffalo, paralleling the circumstances of the previous day’s lion hunt.
Macomber, however, is confident this time, courageous. When they find the buffalo, it charges Macomber. He stands his ground and fires at it, but his shots are too high. Wilson fires at the beast as well, but it keeps charging. Macomber, in the car, had shot at the buffalo with the 6. 5 Mannlicher as it seemed about to gore Macomber and had hit her husband about two inches up and a little to one side of the base of his skull .
The essence of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” is courage. Wilson has courage but Macomber, who is afraid of lions, has none. Tragically, Macomber’s happiness is measured in hours, and indeed even in minutes. Macomber loses his fear as the buffalo charges, and the loss of fear ushers Macomber into manhood, which Margot instantly kills.