The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
How we cite our quotes:
"Do you still have them whipped?"
"Oh, yes. They could raise a row if they chose to complain. But they don't. They prefer it to the fines." (1.54-55)
Wilson's words suggest that in Africa, people live by a whole different set of rules. Violence is part of life – it is even accepted – and so men don't fear it as they do in Macomber's world. According to Wilson, they would rather be whipped than lose money. This strikes Shmoop as a rather callous way to justify his own abusive behavior.
"I've dropped the whole thing," she said, sitting down at the table. "What importance is there to whether Francis is any good at killing lions? That's not his trade. That's Mr. Wilson's trade. Mr. Wilson is really very impressive killing anything. You do kill anything, don't you?" (1.74)
Margot is one tough lady. She cuts her husband off at the knees with one quick remark and doesn't let Wilson get off scot-free either. But at the same time that she mocks the whole macho-men-proving-themselves bit, she participates in the system by punishing Macomber for his failure to perform. From moment to moment, we do not know what to make of her.
"You're very mistaken," she told him. "And I want so to see you perform again. You were lovely this morning. That is if blowing things' heads off is lovely." (1.85)
Here's another example of Margot having it both ways: notice how she makes the hunting thing seem like a silly display of manliness, but also seems to agree that those who fail in this system are losers who should be punished. She seems to dislike the violence of it, but is disappointed that her husband is not better at the violence, too.