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A mystery until the end in ernest hemingways the short happy life of francis macomber

New York, NY; 2002. The Experience of Literature, Second Edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ; 1970. Review the opening scene. What is the effect of the story's beginning with this scene, and then presenting a chronologically earlier scene later? What would be gained, and what would be lost, if the shooting of the lion were presented first?

Kirsten This opening scene creates a sense of wonder as to why the group is, "pretending that nothing had happened" p. Because Wilson says to Macomber: The description of Macomber's physical appearance: But with the revelation that he, "had just shown himself, very publicly, to be a coward" p.

If the shooting of the lion had been presented first, the anticipation of learning what Macomber did that was so cowardly would have been lost. Also, if the story had been presented chronologically, I do not believe that I would have thought that his running away from the lion is such a weak thing to do, but because it is mentioned so uncomfortably and so frequently before that scene is revealed, it makes what he did seem much worse.

Kelsey By opening the story out of chronological order, Hemingway is able to show the reaction of the characters to the shooting before it actually happens.

This gives the reader a better idea of each character's response to the lion shooting; this information helps the reader to understand the initial responses of the character. The characters' feelings are shown, and then the author describes how they came to feel them. It allows the reader to feel as if he knows more than he would if it were merely in chronological order.

This provides a background on Macomber before the shooting happens which is essential for the development of his character. The order allows the reader to tolerate the relationship between Mr. Macomber, which could have become unbearably annoying if the story were presented in sequential order. Katie By opening the story with the celebration after Macomber has shot the lion, the reader has a sense of mystery and uncertainty.

There is an odd strife between Macomber and his wife that is not explained until later in the story, therefore urging the audience to read on. If the author had presented the story chronologically, the reader would have an acquired disdain for Wilson and the wife that is lacking in the beginning of the story.

The reader would also understand why Wilson claims Macomber is a "bloody coward. The reader has more insight into Macomber's life by reading about the lunch party and his high-class social standing that readers would have missed if they had first read about the hunting expedition.

If the reader were thrown into the scene of the lion's shooting there would be no connection or background information about Macomber. This connection oddly enough is apparent in the scene after Macomber shoots the lion instead of before.

Bailey Jamie By starting the story with this scene, the reader is offered a vague feeling of discontentment between the characters that has occurred from an unknown event. The ambiguity of the situation is intriguing and almost makes Macomber sound like he accomplished something great. But following this scene with a prior happening helps to clarify the situation and give meaning behind the conflict. Had the story started with the killing of the lion, the clarity of the situation would be more obvious but the emotional conflicts of the characters would be known, and hence less compelling.

Kathryn By presenting the shooting of the lion out of chronological order, Hemingway allows the reader to view the incident while keeping in mind each character's reaction. The characters' reactions say as much about who they are as their immediate responses during the incident, so it helps the reader evaluate the lion-shooting when he already understands the characters on some level.

If the shooting of the lion were presented first, the characters would be a mystery until the end in ernest hemingways the short happy life of francis macomber during the most important part of the story. During the opening scene, Macomber's social status and his relationship with his wife are explored.

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Hints about his new clothes and his "personal boy" indicate that Macomber is extremely rich, while comments about his wife's "predatory" nature suggest the power struggle between them.

This knowledge about Macomber's personal life gives the incident more meaning because the reader is able to extrapolate how it could affect the rest of his life. Margot's dismissive attitude in the opening scene makes it clear that she might leave her husband, while Macomber's willingness to own up to his cowardice reveals courage in itself.

The reader can then draw parallels between Macomber and his prey, based on his competitive relationship with Margot. Reading about the shooting, the reader can perceive Macomber's similarity to the lion, and anticipate to some degree that he will try to redeem himself with a final surge.

Because the shooting of the lion is the deciding incident in Francis Macomber's fate, it is useful to know something about him when witnessing it. If the shooting of the lion were presented first, the reader would have an opportunity judge the characters before their identities were explored.

Pre-conceived judgments on the part of the reader would have ruined the effectiveness of the story, because the reader would not be able to objectively evaluate events. Did your responses to the three main characters change as you read the story? Which is the more sympathetic male figure, Robert Wilson or Francis Macomber?

Kirsten I initially thought of Macomber as someone who is weak, and I felt embarrassed that he couldn't manage his fear, yet continued to discuss and apologize for running away. But when his wife cheats on him with Robert Wilson, I began to think of him more like a young boy who does not know how to act like an adult man and is afraid; I felt pity for him. Once he kills the buffalo, however, my entire perception of him changes: With Margaret, I felt bad for her because her husband was a coward.

Any sympathy I felt for her, though, was lost when she purposely hurt Macomber by cheating on him with Wilson. When Macomber kills the buffalo and Margaret realizes that she is no longer in the position of authority over him, and that he now has the ability to leave her, I felt pity for her like I felt for Macomber.

I think that Francis Macomber is the more sympathetic male character.

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Although Robert Wilson exists outside of the backwards American dynamics and is a strong character, Macomber has to deal with more than Wilson in the sense of needing to defend his ability to be a strong, adult man. Kelsey In the beginning I pitied Margot Macomber because she seemed uncomfortable and out of her element. I continued to pity her because she needs wealth to feel safe in the world.

She is so wrapped in the need for monetary security that she stays married to a man whom she does not love. The more sympathetic figure is Francis Macomber because he is put into a pressured situation to kill a majestic beast; however he is not a natural killer, and thus buckles under the pressure.

On top of all of this his wife cheats on him with their guide Robert Wilson and later ends up killing Macomber. Macomber is constantly put in uncomfortable, uncontrollable situations that require the reader to show sympathetic feelings toward him. Katie I responded negatively to both characters in the beginning because of their stereotypical wealthy man's persona. They seemed carefree and introspective as they sat and sipped gimlets in the tent.

However, I was more sympathetic towards Macomber as the story progressed. Macomber was hesitant about killing the lion and was not a natural-born killer like Wilson, but had more of a conscious or regret about killing. The reader is also more sympathetic towards Macomber due to his unbearable wife. She is arrogant and repulsive as she blatantly cheats on Macomber with his hunting partner Wilson. She crawls into bed and calls Macomber "a coward," and then doesn't want to talk about her adultery: I'm so very sleepy.

The reader also sees Macomber's transformation as he becomes more courageous and daring after he kills the lion.

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Therefore, the audience feels more condolence when he dies because he has overcome his fear and developed as a character. Macomber worsened, as they seemed to be licentious. Kathryn At the beginning of the story, I sympathized with Margot's disappointment in her husband.

I respected her scorn and agreed with her evaluation that Macomber was cowardly and inadequate, because I initially viewed Macomber through the lenses of her and Wilson's disdain. Macomber's admissions to cowardice hinted that perhaps he did have the courage to try to reclaim his dignity, however, and I ceased to sympathize with Margot when she stooped so low as to punish Macomber by sleeping with Robert Wilson.

Before the buffalo hunting expedition, Margot and Macomber were both juvenile and immature in their power-struggle, while Robert Wilson assumed the position of expert, and almost father-figure. When Macomber realized his courage while hunting buffalo, however, he shed his immaturity and became Robert Wilson's equal, leaving Margot behind in the metaphorical childhood that they had occupied together. Macomber is ultimately the more sympathetic figure because he demands the reader's admiration when he leaves immaturity behind to conquer possibly the first real challenge of his wealthy, coddled life.

How do the physical descriptions of the characters help us to understand them? For example, what is the significance of Robert Wilson's "red face"? How does Margot Macomber's appearance change as the story progresses? Kirsten Robert Wilson's appearance is a symbol ascertaining his manliness. Unlike Macomber, Wilson is not handsome in a pretty, conventional sense. His attraction stems from how his appearance reflects his "manly" pursuits: His intense "machine-gunner's eyes" p. Margaret is first described as, "an extremely handsome and well-kept woman of the beauty and social position" p.

Later, she becomes, "pretty rather than beautiful" p. She had missed the chance to leave him and he knew it. If he had been better with women she would have probably have started to worry about him getting another new, beautiful wife" p.

While Margaret may be beautiful in Africa, in American society she is no longer the beauty she once was, which makes her vulnerable once Macomber realizes his authority in the relationship. Kelsey Robert Wilson's "red face" is important because I believe it represents his short temper towards Americans.

Macomber notices it more so than her husband because he has such a little tolerance towards women in general. Margot Macomber's appearance changes from being a bystander, to a loving wife, to an almost intolerable woman. Robert Wilson is the picture of a true man. His face is red from the many hours he has spent tracking and killing animals in the intense sun.

This physical description automatically establishes his superiority over the other characters while on this safari, he is in his element in this country and his face represents this idea. Margot Macomber's appearance changes from being beautiful to just "pretty" because of her uncouth actions. As she becomes less respectable in Francis Macomber's eyes she loses her beauty as well. While in America Francis was able to ignore her bad actions, here Margot is less able to cover up her hurtful actions and thus she looses a lot of her respectability and becomes yet another unsatisfied American.

Katie In the beginning of the story Margot is described as a ". This theory remains true throughout the story but Margot is described in a less venerable way in the end of the account. Then she is described as ".