© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Analysis

Literary Devices in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

While the neither the narrator nor the character ever come right out and say that this safari is taking place in Kenya, we can assume from Wilson's reference to Nairobi that they are somewhere in t...

Narrator Point of View

Our narrator has it made. He can roam around as he pleases, entering characters' minds when he wants to or zooming out for a bigger picture. Whoever he is, he is also a bit of a tease. The narrator...

Genre

AdventureLions, buffalo, safaris, big guns, and big manly men. Sounds like an adventure, right? Right. This is literally a story of a hunt, with all the thrills and challenges that go with it. The...

Tone

It's hard not to have certain expectations when the title of a story refers to a character as "happy." We're thinking we're about to meet a jolly, well-to-do, loveable dude named Francis. Maybe Fra...

Writing Style

Bear with us. Give it to Us Straight, HemHemingway was a true prose stylist, which is to say that the man took writing seriously. He thought that if you wrote one good sentence per day, you would b...

What's Up With the Title?

Unfortunately, the title makes absolutely no sense. That is, until you've read the story – and even then it's a little complicated. First of all, it's the "short happy life" and not the "short, h...

What's Up With the Ending?

As we are trucking along through the story, we come to appreciate the all-knowing, all-seeing narrator who gives us all sorts of insight and information to add layers of emotional complexity to the...

Tough-o-Meter

"The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" is by no means a tough story. In fact, it would get a 2 on the Tough-o-Meter if it weren't for the sparse tone and tricky chronology. Hemingway makes the...

Plot Analysis

Safari TimeIt's just what you do when you are good-looking, wealthy, and sporty. You have done the motorcycles and big-sea fishing, the duck hunting, and the court games. Now it's time for Francis...

Trivia

The 1947 movie version of the story, The Macomber Affair, tried to put a romantic spin on the story, you know Hollywood. The movie also makes it clear that Margot shot Macomber intentionally. Scand...

Steaminess Rating

So there is no "on-screen" sexuality in the story, but it's pretty clear that Margot sneaks off to Wilson's tent and sleeps with him. Really the sex isn't about sex at all. It's about power and pun...

Allusions

Martin Johnson (3.18)William Shakespeare (4.13)
Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top