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:
While they sat there his wife had reached forward and put her hand on Wilson's shoulder. He turned and she had leaned forward over the low seat and kissed him on the mouth. (3.12)
Margot uses sexuality as a weapon. Just when Macomber is feeling his worst, his least masculine, he has to watch his wife plant a wet one on another man. That has got to sting.
His wife had been a great beauty and she was still a great beauty in Africa, but she was not a great enough beauty any more at home to be able to leave him and better herself and she knew it and he knew it. She had missed the chance to leave him and he knew it. If he had been better with women she would probably have started to worry about him getting another new, beautiful wife; but she knew too much about him to worry about him either. (3.17)
Margot was beautiful but the power of that beauty is fading. Still, she thinks Macomber is a wimp and would never find another woman even if he wanted to. In fact, it seems like they are both stuck. Margot knows she can't nab another man because her looks are starting to go, and Macomber isn't confident enough to go out and find another woman. Nope, it appears this is the best they both can do.
"Out to get a breath of air."
"That's a new name for it. You are a bitch."
"Well, you're coward." (3.28-30)
Wow, what a lovely exchange. They have an unspoken language in which calling each other crude names speaks volumes about the power shift between them. Margot justifies her infidelity by calling her husband a wimp. It's cruel, but effective. She goes right to sleep and he is left stewing.