Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Poor Francis....

     Francis Macomber and his wife Margot are on a hunting trip in Africa, with their Guide Wilson.  They have been on one hunt on this trip and things have not gone well for Francis, mainly because faced with a lion, ran instead of shot.  While the people who were at the camp thought he did well, the gun bearers, Margot and Wilson knew the truth.  After wards Margot started to notice certain things about Wilson, his sandy hair, his cold blue eyes.   Francis was a very fit, well-built man.  While they were having drinks Francis thanks Wilson for the lion, but Margot looks away in shame towards Wilson.  “You have a very red face, Mr. Wilson she said.  Drink Wilson says but she says I don’t think so, Francis drinks a great deal, but his face is never red.  Its red today, Francis said trying to joke.  NO my face is red today says Margot.  Soon Margot ran off to cry.  Francis expected this and Wilson found it to be an annoyance.  Wilson considered Francis to be a boy and Margot to be a predator.  She came back and was refresh and new.  Margot wanted to come on the next trip, but Wilson was against it.  Wilson knew about American Women and their effect on men, so she saw her as trouble.  But in the end she got her way.  In the afternoon they went to hunt Impala and Francis proved himself to be a great shot.  He wanted to make sure that his wife forgot the lion business, because they were hunting buffalo.  But Wilson thought to himself that he should be more worried about how being a coward affected himself, not his wife.  But there was another lion near the camp, so there was another chance.  Francis came close, even shot the lion couple of times, but in the end ran, with his wife seeing the whole thing again.  When they got back in the cat Margot lend over into the front seat and kissed Wilson.  Francis has been through this before, but Wilson thought that it was their business and he was a 3rd party.  The night Margot went to Wilson’s tent and Francis confronted her about it when she got back.  He said “you think I will take anything” and she said “I know you will”.  They were at a stalemate, she was beautiful and he was rich.  Wilson had been through this before and thought nothing of it.  In the morning they went off to hunt three buffalo.  The chased them on foot and in the car.  Francis took out the biggest one, while both he and Wilson took out the other two.  The chase had awakened something in Francis and now he had the courage to stand up to his wife, maybe even leave her!  One of the Gun Bears spoke to Wilson, telling him that the first buffalo was still alive and limped off into the Bush.  So they decided to go after it and finish it off.  They were close to it when it decided to charge.  Francis took several shots most of them hitting the horn, until he got it in the head.  But at the same time Francis felt a white hot blinding flash explode in his head.  It was the last thing he ever felt; because his wife had accidently shot him while trying to help.  Wilson said to her, without a tone in his voice, “That was a pretty thing to do, He would have left you too”  “why didn’t you poison him? That’s what they do in England” all she did was cried and said stop it.
                Yeah So I really don’t like Margot, Francis wife.  Because of her Francis died. (I was like the hunter, starting like Francis at the end of the story.  He was starting to come into his own and standing up to his wife and then BLAM, end of character development. (Well I should have expected that since the story was named The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, but I was hoping for a metaphysical death.)  Also I think the title references his life after he discovers himself, not before.  After his transformation, Wilson was his guide.  Francis asked him questions like “Do you have feelings of happiness about what’s going to happen?” in regards to the hunt.  As for the wife, she take an interesting turn when Macomber changes in regards to the hunt.  At first she was excited to see it, but after Macomber develops she is sicken by it.  I think she was looking Wilsion in the previous hunts, not the actual action.  Wilson himself I don’t really find fault with, he just trying to do his job, he doesn’t expect to see these people again, so he has no need to make an attachment to them.  But at the same time he is proud to see Macomber grow into what he considers to be a man.  I think he considers most American men to be like children, mainly because they don’t normal grow up around danger and since his clients are mostly rich, they haven’t been through much struggle.  But I do find it curious with many cultures that the right into manhood involves conflict or death.  The only peaceful passage into manhood I can think of off the top of my head is a Bar mitzvah and the only painful thing I can think of happening there is the boy falling out of the chair.  Why does the rite of manhood have to involve someone getting hurt or a creature dying when it is displayed in our culture?  Good Job boy you just ended a creature’s life for no apparent reason other than to prove to me a concept of manhood, Great Job.  I mean there are other means to show you’re a “man” like joining the armed forces (you won’t automatically kill someone in the armed forces, but it is still indirectly involved with violence).  The other way you can look at is that the hunt is a metaphor of him finally taking a stand against his wife, no matter what the consequences.  There is also the question whether not the wife committed murder, but I believe that she didn’t that it was an accident.  I’m pretty sure that is the only positive thing I can say about the wife.

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