The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
by Ernest Hemingway
The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
They are, he thought, the hardest in the world; the hardest, the cruelest, the most predatory and the most attractive and their men have softened or gone to pieces nervously as they have hardened. Or is it that they pick men they can handle? (1.75)
When a hunter calls a woman a predator, you need to pay attention. Wilson's attitude toward Margot gives you the idea that he has had a few experiences with American women before, and they were not good ones, that's for sure.
When she left, Wilson was thinking, when she went off to cry, she seemed a hell of a fine woman. She seemed to understand, to realize, to be hurt for him and for herself and to know how things really stood. (1.82)
Margot's tough act finally cracks. By crying, she compels Wilson to consider that there might be more to her than he first thought. She is beautiful, and definitely wise to the situation, which means she is much more than just a pretty face. Plus, it seems like she has something to lose.
So, Robert Wilson thought to himself, she is giving him a ride, isn't she? Or do you suppose that's her idea of putting up a good show? How should a woman act when she discovers her husband is a bloody coward? She's damn cruel but they're all cruel. They govern, of course, and to govern one has to be cruel sometimes. Still, I've seen enough of their damn terrorism. (1.102)
In a way, Wilson believes that Macomber deserves Margot's contempt. He thinks that in a marriage, women are in charge – and that power can sometimes be an ugly sight to see. But that's just the way it is, and Wilson is not about to try to defend Macomber.