Research Paper After reading, watching, and studying the Canvas module resources, write at least an 650 word essay supporting the claim, Francis Macomber goes on the hero’s journey.Use in text citatio

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Research Paper

  1. After reading, watching, and studying the Canvas module resources, write at least an 650 word essay supporting the claim, Francis Macomber goes on the hero’s journey.
  2. Use in text citations to cite each of the journal articles at least once in your paper.
  3. Your essay must include a Works Cited page.
  4. It is vitally important that you remain focused on Francis moving through the different stages of the hero’s journey.
  5. What is Francis’ normal or “known” world? What does the story say about this normal life? You may need to look at the PowerPoint that introduction to the story.
  6. When does he receive “the call” to leave the known world?
  7. Who is his mentor? What must Francis learn?
  8. What tests must he pass? What predators must he face? Are there rites of passage as he moves through the tests (water – lemon squash – whiskey)
  9. You should be able to find lots of quotes in the articles to support your claims about Francis being on the hero’s journey.
  10. Must be original work.
  11. Due November 16, 2022 by 4:00pm
  12. Please find attached reading articles from which the essay needs to be written from.

Research Paper After reading, watching, and studying the Canvas module resources, write at least an 650 word essay supporting the claim, Francis Macomber goes on the hero’s journey.Use in text citatio
The Critical Menagerie in “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” Author(syf 7 K H R G R U H / * D L O O D U G – U . Source: The English Journal , Vol. 60, No. 1 (Jan., 1971yf S S 5 Published by: National Council of Teachers of English Stable URL: Accessed: 12-09-2016 12:16 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at National Council of Teachers of English is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The English Journal This content downloaded from on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 12:16:15 UTC All use subject to The Critical Menagerie in “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” Theodore L. Gaillard, Jr. Department of English St. Mark’s School Southborough, Massachusetts 44HO’S Hemingway?” one senior recently asked me-partly in jest. But his question in many ways epito- mizes the problem faced by the current secondary school student who is devour- ing the works of Updike, Cleaver, Bald- win, and Vonnegut-and who knows lit- tle more of Hemingway than that he was one of his parents’ favorite authors. Too often he has heard Hemingway touted as a writer of good hunting and fishing stories rather than as one of the best short story craftsmen in the lan- guage. And yet today’s students still come away from a study of Hemingway amazed at the skill and depth of this author they had initially approached with a somewhat quizzical “show me” attitude. In approaching Hemingway, I have found that “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” particularly lends itself to the task of convincing students that Hemingway is still a writer of major literary significance. Superficially, the action and dialog are exciting and com- mand interest; beneath the surface lie a multitude of subtle techniques that, once uncovered, will convince even the neo- phyte Hemingway reader of this author’s stature in the genre of the short story. A technique that emerges as one of the most impressively effective is Hemingway’s use of animals, for behind the scenes of the five-act tragedy’ that constitutes “The Short Happy Life of Francis Ma- comber”2 stalks a troupe of inhuman supporting actors whose effect on our understanding of Hemingway’s story is crucial. Some of these animals appear in rather nebulous meta’phoric and adjecti- val roles; others appear on-stage at key points in the story to provide the vital antagonistic thrust faced by the pro- tagonist, Francis Macomber. But whether in the form of a charging lion or, more subtly, in Margot Macomber’s back- handed reference to those “big cowy things that jump like hares” (p. 9yf , Hemingway uses his animal menagerie 1I pp. 3-11: prologue-shameful present; II pp. 11-22: flashback-lion hunt; III pp. 22-29: the buffalo hunt; IV pp. 29-36: Macomber’s “happy life” and death; V pp. 36-37: epilogue- Margot’s surrender. 2All page references are to Ernest Heming- way, The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953yf . 31 This content downloaded from on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 12:16:15 UTC All use subject to 32 ENGLISH JOURNAL as a standard against which to measure and evaluate his human actors. Furthest in the background lurk what can be called his social animals; in the middle distance loom the disparaging animals of direct criticism; in the foreground tower the personified foils with which the main characters are identified and compared. Largely removed from the scene of the Macomber safari, social animals com- ment implicitly on Francis Macomber’s background. As a crew-cut socialite, Francis knows about duck shooting, about fishing, trout, sal- mon and big-sea, . . . about all court games, about dogs, not much about horses, about hanging on to his money, about most of the other things his world dealt in (p. 21yf . His world emerges as one of spending money and dabbling in the safer hunting and fishing pastimes that are all part of “the good life.” His lack of knowledge of horses suggests that the danger of even such socially acceptable sports as polo is something Macomber has hitherto avoided. Hemingway implies that he has probably never seriously considered the possibility of there being any real danger to big-game hunting in Africa, and his lack of experience and preparedness stand out as conspicuously as his too- new safari clothes (p. 4yf 3 O D F H G Q H [ W W o Robert Wilson, the white hunter whom Mrs. Macomber examines with great sen- sual interest, Francis appears almost ri- diculous. The type of safari envisioned by the society columnist ultimately emerges as far from the truth as the El Heraldo critic’s account of the bullfight in “The Undefeated,” but his self-con- sciously witty, tongue-in-cheek descrip- tion of the Martin Johnsons’ storybook safari is probably exactly the kind of sa- fari Macomber, ironically, had in mind- as is emphasized by Hemingway’s close placement of the columnist’s description of the Johnson safari to his comment on the Macombers’. Unfortunately, Francis Macomber’s safari turns out to be quite different from a romantic adventure out of Babar the Elephant; Macomber’s ad- versaries are a far cry from “Old Simba the lion, the buffalo, Tembo the ele- phant” (p. 22yf D Q G W K H 1 D W X U D O + L V W R U y Museum specimens that in the col- umnist’s description seem almost pre- stuffed. Hemingway suggests here that Macomber has emerged from the fairy- tale world of high society into the real world of tooth and claw. M ORE specific than this implicitly negative criticism of Macomber is Hemingway’s explicit use of animals as a verbal weapon in the mouths of his characters. “I bolted like a rabbit” (p. 7yf , Macomber chastizes himself. He sees the wounded lion, on the other hand, takes a last desperate stand and makes “him- self perfectly flat in cover you wouldn’t think would hide a hare” (p. 17yf 7 K e rabbit-hare similarity in the comparison between Macomber and the lion em- phasizes the contrast between the lion’s stand and Macomber’s panic-stricken flight. To Francis’ self-punishment Margot adds criticism of her own. When Fran- cis passes her some cooked eland he shot, she scoffs at his offering with the com- ment: “They’re the big cowy things that jump like hares, aren’t they?” (p. 9yf . Rubbing salt into his wounded ego, she facetiously asks, “They’re not dangerous, are they?” (p. 9yf , Q F R Q W U D V W W R K H U O D W H r attempt at disparaging Francis’ initial suc- cess with the buffalo (“It seemed very unfair to me,” Margot said, “chasing those big helpless things in a motor car” [p. 30]yf K H U H V K H L V H V V H Q W L D O O F R U – rect. All Francis has been able to shoot by this point in the safari are relatively harmless animals, and he has proved him- self a coward in the face of the only dangerous game he has encountered. In some ways Francis has not yet arrived in Africa-he seems almost to be at home dining by candlelight, “cutting the eland This content downloaded from on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 12:16:15 UTC All use subject to “THE SHORT HAPPY LIFE OF FRANCIS MACOMBER” 33 steak and putting some mashed potato, gravy and carrot on the down-turned fork that tined through the piece of meat” (p. 10yf . Perhaps the crowning insult comes the morning after Margot has spent the night with Wilson on his double-size cot. Macomber is well aware of his wife’s infidelity, but he is not man enough to mete out physical punishment to his wife or to Wilson. Verbal in- nuendoes have to suffice. Not unexpect- edly, Wilson foils even this method of retaliation with a very quiet, “I’d pull yourself together, laddybuck” (p. 24yf . The fatherly, almost condescending, tone and the epithet’s implications of imma- turity and/or femininity remind us of the ludicrous, rabbity eland, not to mention Macomber’s own previous evaluation of himself. But the epithet also concisely foreshadows the end of the buffalo hunt, for Macomber does pull himself together and rises from “laddybuck” to true man- hood, equal in courage and virility to the bull buffalo he has killed. H EMINGWAY is most effective, however, in his use of animals as foils for the human characters in the story. It is in conjunction with the ani- mals they themselves hunt that we can best evaluate Robert Wilson, Francis Macomber, and his wife. Wilson emerges as “the professional”; he shows -little emotion, and lack of expression in his voice tells us more about him than would another author’s attempt at full descrip- tion. He is self-confident and almost de- tached from the jungle world of his employers. From Margaret’s point of view he seems a killer, but his “flat, blue, machine gunner’s eyes” (p. 8yf L U R Q L F D O O y seem to raise Robert Wilson into a posi- tion of dominance over the brutal strug- gle for supremacy that he witnesses. Margot Macomber, on the other hand, is deeply enmeshed in this struggle. Her husband labels her “a bitch” (p. 22yf D I W H r her return from Wilson’s tent and refers to her “bitchery” (p. 10yf H O V H Z K H U H L Q W K e story-but in his social epithet Francis has severely underestimated this woman who by the end of the story feels herself threatened by a husband with the cour- age to leave her. She is, she realizes, past her prime: … 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 (p. 21yf . In defending her interests, she is far more than just a “bitch.” Although Hemingway links Margot with no spe- cific animal, she does materialize as the condensation of all the most dangerous qualities of female carnivores. To Robert Wilson she is a typical American woman, one of “the hardest in the world: the hardest, the cruelest, the most predatory and the most attractive” (p. 8yf $ O W K R X J h deep within she still has vestiges of the softness and femininity that exist in all women (“She looked younger today [Wilson muses], more innocent and fresher and not so professionally beauti- ful” [p. 27]yf H [ W H U Q D O O V K H L V V R H Q D P – elled in that American female cruelty” (p. 9yf W K D W V K H V H H P V H Y H Q P R U H L Q V H Q V L W L Y e than Robert Wilson with his “extremely cold blue eyes” (p. 4yf 6 K H L V V P D U W % X t she wasn’t stupid, Wilson thought, no, not stupid” [p. 8]yf D Q G ) U D Q F L V L V V W L O l rather naive. “There are lots of things I don’t know” (p. 7yf : K L O H V K H L V V H H n as cruel and predatory, her husband is compared with a rabbit and is at the end linked, appropriately, with the lion whose head is blown off by Wilson. It is almost as if Hemingway has put in Wilson’s mind words that should have 3The pig-eyed quality (pp. 29, 35yf R I W K e buffalo with whom Macomber is ultimately linked mildly reinforces this idea of his lack of awareness. See also the other things he “did not know” about Wilson or his wife (p. 21, middleyf . This content downloaded from on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 12:16:15 UTC All use subject to 34 ENGLISH JOURNAL been uttered by Macomber in reference to his wife: “Hope the silly beggar doesn’t take a notion to blow the back of my head off” (p. 25yf : L O V R Q V I H D r is, obviously, never realized, but Hem-, ingway confirms our premonitions of Macomber’s fate by using his animal foils to manipulate the roles of hunter and hunted: “You know in Africa no woman ever misses her lion,” Wilson promises (p. 7yf , Q 0 D U J D U H W 0 D F R P E H U s all too capable hands the 6.5 Mannlicher performs the function implicit in its name. Macomber is hit “two inches up and a little to one side of the base of his skull” (p. 36yf Z L W K R Q H I H H O V D O P R V t the same careful precision he himself used when he “aimed carefully at the center of the huge, jerking, rage-driven neck and shot” (p. 29yf . H EMINGWAY’S subtle identification of Macomber with the lion he is hunting serves a far more important pur- pose than symbolically to foreshadow his death at the hands of his wife. Indeed, it is through Macomber’s links with both the lion and the buffalo that we become subliminally aware of his transition from emotional adolescence to manhood. Ini- tially, the lion’s bravery and determina-1 tion are used strictly as a contrast to Macomber’s rabbit-like trembling (pp. 14, 15, 17, et al.yf : H O O K H U H V W R W K e lion” (p. 4yf L V W K H W R D V W : L O V R Q J L Y H V W K e victim and not his supposed slayer, Fran- cis Macomber. In his struggle for survi- val the lion with half his head shot away kept “crawling on toward the crashing, blasting thing that had destroyed him” (p. 21yf + H V W D U H G G H I L D Q W O Z L W K H O O R w eyes, narrowed with hate” (p. 19yf V L P L , larly, “Francis Macomber found that, of all the many men that he had hated, he hated Robert Wilson the most” (p. 23yf . But Macomber can at this point do nothing with his hatred. Momentarily facing the challenge posed by the lion (and all that it symbolizes in the storyyf , Macomber feels “sick at his stomach” (p. 16yf D Q G F D Q Q R W F R Q W U R O K L V V K D N L Q J . “The fear was still there like a cold, slimy hollow in all the emptiness where once his confidence had been and it made him feel sick” (p. 11yf 7 K H T X D O L W y of the difference between Macomber and the lion is suggested by the nature of their respective wounds. Macomber’s psychological “wound” can be traced ultimately to his constitutional weakness and, more recently, to the effects of his “huntress” wife; like other American men, Wilson thinks, Macomber has “softened or gone to pieces nervously as they [American women and, specifical- ly, Margaret Macomber] have hardened” (p. 8yf % X W W K H O L R Q V Z R X Q G L V P R U H a “red badge of courage” incurred in com- bat with an almost mythical “super- rhino” (p. 15yf D Q G L W V S D V V H Q J H U V D Y L V L R n that should, Hemingway implies, inspire the lion with at least as much terror as the “dangerous game” (p. 26yf I D F H G E y Macomber. Instead of fear, a .30-06 220- grain solid bullet causes the “sudden hot scalding nausea” (p. 15yf L Q W K H O L R Q s stomach. In contrast, the nausea of fear experienced by Macomber is one of nothingness, a cold, slimy hollow exist- ing in emptiness; the lion’s nausea is caused by a solid bullet and manifests itself as something hot, even scalding. The lion dies nobly, facing an external force he cannot master; “Wilson knew some- thing about it and only expressed it by saying, ‘Damned fine lion’ ” (p. 21yf . “Shoot for the bone. Break him down,” Wilson had said (p. 12yf 7 K e lion is broken down and fights his fate to the end, whereas Macomber has col- lapsed internally, “gone to pieces ner- vously” (p. 8yf 0 D F R P E H U E R O W V O L N H a rabbit, where in the lion “all of him, pain, sickness, hatred and all of his re- maining strength, was tightening into an absolute concentration for a rush” (p. 19yf G L U H F W O D W K L V D W W D F N H U V , Q G H D W K K e becomes almost human: “the lion lay, with uplifted, white-muscled, tendon- marked naked forearms” (p. 21yf 0 D – This content downloaded from on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 12:16:15 UTC All use subject to “THE SHORT HAPPY LIFE,OF FRANCIS MACOMBER” 35 comber becomes, by his own admission, a rabbit. BUT Macomber changes. His meta- morphosis from “rabbit” and “laddy- buck” occurs after the second crossing of the stream that separates the camp from the hunting ground. Once again the lion is used as a foil-this time more subtly. Just as we view the initial con- flict through the lion’s stream-of-con-, sciousness as he watched Macomber dis- mount from the car, so we now see Macomber observe “three huge, black animals looking almost cylindrical in their long heaviness, like big black tank cars” (p. 27yf 7 K H V L W X D W L R Q K D V E H H n inverted. Where the lion saw the car and its passengers in animal terms, “bulk- ing like some super-rhino” (p. 15yf 0 D – comber sees the animal in car terms. Hemingway’s inversion of style implies the conversion of Macomber to a lion- like figure and foreshadows his coura- geous birth into his all-too-short “happy life.” Sparked by a rage in which “he had no fear, only hatred of Wilson” (p. 28yf D Q G E X R H G E K L V L Q V W L Q F W L Y e skill and success at dispatching the first two buffaloes, Macomber becomes a man equal to Wilson. Hemingway draws our attention to Macomber’s newly ac- quired self-confidence by equating his and Wilson’s reaction to the news that one of the buffaloes has disappeared, wounded, into the bush: “He says the first bull got up and went into the bush,” Wilson said with no expression in his voice. “Oh,” said Ma- comber blankly (p. 30yf , W D O L F V P L Q H f In his excitement, Macomber becomes in Wilson’s eyes “a ruddy fire-eater” (p. 31yf Z K L F K O L Q N V 0 D F R P E H U P R U H F O R V H O y both with the “red-faced Mr. Wilson” (p. 8yf D Q G Z L W K W K H V O D L Q O L R Q D Q G K L s “hot scalding nausea” (p. 15yf , U R Q L F D O O , we see in Wilson’s comment a further foreshadowing of Macomber’s end in which a “sudden white-hot, blinding flash explode[s] inside his head” (p. 36yf . The lion himself had last been seen crawling toward Wilson “with half his head seeming to be gone” (p. 20yf 7 K e hunter becomes the hunted; the man with newly achieved lion-like qualities falls prey to the predatory wife who has seen the change in her husband (p. 33yf and herself has become white and ill with fear at what it portends (pp. 29, 31yf . In his final hunt Macomber has been implicitly connected with the previously slain lion; in his death at the hands of another “hunter” he is subtly linked with his own last victim, the buffalo: “Francis Macomber lay now, face down, not two yards from where the buffalo lay on his side…” (p. 36yf : L O V R Q V I L U V W F R Q V F L R X s thought after spreading his handkerchief over Macomber’s crew-cropped head is (as he stands and looks at the bull beside Macomberyf + H O O R I D J R R G E X O O A good fifty inches or better. Better” (p. 36yf : K H U H : L O V R Q V S U H Y L R X V F R P S O L – ment to the lion was an insult to Ma- comber, his remark here is a tribute to the man who became a man too late. Linked with the buffalo both in the man- ner of death and by physical proximity, Macomber has, at the last, achieved the transition from “rabbit” and “laddybuck” to lion, to bull (with its implications of size and virile strengthyf D Q G W R P D Q K R R G . Hemingway’s subtle use of animals as an evaluative device has helped to turn what would have been a story of pathos into one that approaches tragedy. This content downloaded from on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 12:16:15 UTC All use subject to
Research Paper After reading, watching, and studying the Canvas module resources, write at least an 650 word essay supporting the claim, Francis Macomber goes on the hero’s journey.Use in text citatio
Hemingway Author(syf 5 R E H U W 3 H Q Q : D U U H n Source: The Kenyon Review, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Winter, 1947yf S S 8 Published by: Kenyon College Stable URL: Accessed: 08-11-2017 21:21 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Kenyon College is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Kenyon Review This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to The Kenyon Review Vol. IX WINTER, 1947 No. I Robert Penn Warren HEMINGWAY T HE situations and characters of Hemingway’s world are usually violent. There is the hard-drinking and sexually pro- miscuous world of The Sun Also Rises; the chaotic and brutal world of war as in A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, many of the inserted sketches of In Our Time, the play The Fifth Column, and some of the stories; the world of sport, as in “Fifty Grand,” “My Old Man,” “The Undefeated,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”; the world of crime as in “The Killers,” “The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio,” and To Have and To Have Not. Even when the situation of a story does not fall into one of these categories, it usually involves a desperate risk, and behind it is the shadow of ruin, physical or spiritual. As for the typical characters, they are usually tough men, experienced in the hard worlds they inhabit, and not obviously given to emotional display or sensitive shrinking, men like Rinaldi or Frederick Henry of A Farewell to Arms, Robert Jordan of For Whom the Bell Tolls, Harry Morgan of To Have and To Have Not, the big-game hunter of “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” the old bull-fighter of “The Un- defeated,” or the pugilist of “Fifty Grand.” Or if the typical character is not of this seasoned order, he is a very young man, or boy, first entering the violent world and learning his first adjust- ment to it. We have said that the shadow of ruin is behind the typical Hemingway situation. The typical character faces defeat or This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 2 KENYON REV I EW death. But out of defeat or death the character usually man- ages to salvage something. And here we discover Heming- way’s special interest in such situations and such characters. His heroes are not defeated except upon their own terms. They are not squealers, welchers, compromisers, or cowards, and when they confront defeat they realize that the stance they take, the stoic endurance, the stiff upper lip mean a kind of victory. Defeated upon their own terms, some of them have even courted their defeat; and certainly they have maintained, even in the practical defeat, an ideal of themselves, some definition of how a man should behave, formulated or unformulated, by which they have lived. They represent some notion of a code, some notion of honor, which makes a man a man, and which distin- guishes him from people who merely follow their random impulses and who are, by consequence, “messy.” In case after case, we can illustrate this “principle of sports- manship,” as one critic has called it, at the center of a story or novel. For instance, Brett, the heroine of The Sun Also Rises, gives up Romero, the young bullfighter with whom she is in love, because she knows she will ruin him, and her tight-lipped remark to Jake, the newspaper man who is the narrator of the novel, might almost serve as the motto of Hemingway’s work: “You know it makes one feel rather good deciding not to be a bitch.” It is the discipline of the code which makes man human, a sense of style or good form. This applies not only in isolated, dramatic cases such as those listed above, but in a more pervasive way which can give meaning, partially at least, to the confusions of living. The discipline of the soldier, the form of the athlete, the gameness of the sportsman, the technique of an artist can give some sense of the human order, and can achieve a moral signifi- cance. And here we see how Hemingway’s concern with war and sport crosses his concern with literary style. If a writer can get the kind of style at which Hemingway professed, in Green Hills of Africa, to aim, then “nothing else matters. It is more import- This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 3 ant than anything else he can do.” It is more important because, ultimately, it is a moral achievement. And no doubt for this reason, as well as for the reason of Henry James’s concern with cruxes of a moral code, he is, as he says in Green Hills of Africa, an admirer of the work of James, the devoted stylist. But to return to the subject of Hemingway’s world: the code and the discipline are important because they can give meaning to life which otherwise seems to have no meaning or justification. In other words, in a world without supernatural sanctions, in the God-abandoned world of modernity, man can realize an ideal meaning only in so far as he can define and maintain the code. The effort to define and maintain the code, however limited and imperfect it may be, is the characteristically human effort and pro- vides the tragic or pitiful human story. Hemingway’s attitude on this point is much like that of Robert Louis Stevenson as Stevenson states it in one of his essays, “Pulvis et Umbra”: -everywhere some virtue cherished or affected, everywhere some de- cency of thought or carriage, everywhere the ensign of man’s in- effectual goodness . . . under every circumstance of failure, without hope, without help, without thanks, still obscurely fighting the lost fight of virtue, still clinging, in the brothel or on the scaffold, to some rag of honor, the poor jewel of their souls! They may seek to escape, and yet they cannot; it is not alone their privilege and glory, but their doom; they are condemned to some nobility . . . . Hemingway’s code is more rigorous than Stevenson’s and per- haps he finds fewer devoted to it, but like Stevenson he can find his characteristic hero and characteristic story among the discards of society, and like Stevenson is aware of the touching irony of that fact. But for the moment the important thing in the parallel is that, for Stevenson, the world in which this drama of pitiful aspiration and stoic endurance is played out is, objectively con- sidered, a violent and meaningless world- “our rotary island loaded with predatory life and more drenched with blood than ever mutinied ship . . . scuds through space.” Neither Heming- way nor Stevenson invented this world. It had already appeared This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 4 KENYON REVIEW in literature before their time, and that is a way of saying that this cheerless vision had already begun to trouble men. It is the world we find pictured (and deniedyf L Q 7 H Q Q V R Q V , Q 0 H P R U L D P – the world in which human conduct is a product of “dying Nature’s earth and lime.” It is the world pictured (and not deniedyf L n Hardy and Housman, a world which seems to be presided over by blind Doomsters (if by anybodyyf D V + D U G S X W L W L Q K L V S R H m “Hap,” or made by some brute and blackguard (if by anybodyyf , as Housman put it in his poem “The Chestnut Casts Its Flam- beaux.” It is the world of Zola or Dreiser or Conrad or Faulkner. It is the world of, to use Bertrand Russell’s phrase, “secular hur- ryings through space.” It is the God-abandoned world, the world of Nature-as-all. We know where the literary men got this pic- ture. They got it from the scientists of the 19th Century. This is Hemingway’s world, too, the world with nothing at center. Over against this naturalistic view of the world, there was, of course, an argument for Divine Intelligence and a Divine purpose, an argument which based itself on the beautiful system of nature, on natural law. The closely knit order of the natural world, so the argument ran, implies a Divine Intelligence. But if one calls Hemingway’s attention to the fact that the natural world is a world of order, his reply is on record in a story called “A Natural History of the Dead.” There he quotes from the traveller Mungo Park, who, naked and starving in an African desert, observed a beautiful little moss-flower and meditated thus: Can the Being who planted, watered, and brought to perfection, in this obscure part of the world, a thing which appears of so small importance, look with unconcern upon the situation and suff- ering of creatures formed after his own image? Surely not. Reflec- tions like these would not allow me to despair: I started up and, dis- regarding both hunger and fatigue, travelled forward, assured that relief was at hand; and I was not disappointed. And Hemingway continues: With a disposition to wonder and adore in like manner, as Bishop Stanley says [the author of A Familiar History of Birds], can This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 5 any branch of Natural History be studied without increasing that faith, love and hope which we also, everyone of us, need in our journey through the wilderness of life? Let us therefore see what inspiration we may derive from the dead. Then Hemingway presents the picture of a modern battlefield, where the bloated and decaying bodies give a perfect example of the natural order of chemistry-but scarcely an argument for faith, hope, and love. That picture is his answer to the argument that the order of nature implies meaning in the world. In one of the stories, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” we find the best description of this world which underlies Hemingway’s world of violent action. Early in the story we see an old man sitting late in a Spanish cafe. Two waiters are speaking of him. “Last week he tried to commit suicide,” one waiter said. “Why ?” “He was in despair.” “What about?” “Nothing.” “How do you know it was nothing?” “He has plenty of money.” The despair beyond plenty of money-or beyond all the other gifts of the world: its nature becomes a little clearer at the end of the story when the older of the two waiters is left alone, re- luctant too to leave the clean, well-lighted place. Turning off the electric light he continued the conversation with himself. It is the light of course but it is necessary that the place be clean and pleasant. You do not want music. Certainly you do not want music. Nor can you stand before a bar with dignity although that is all that is provided for these hours. What did he fear? It was not fear or dread. It was a nothing that he knew too well. It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order. Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada.’ Our nada who art in nada, nada 1. nada y pues nada, etc.: nothing and after that nothing, etc. This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 6 KENYON REVIEW be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee. He smiled and stood before a bar with a shining steam pressure coffee machine. “What’s yours?” asked the barman. “Nada.” At the end the old waiter is ready to go home: Now, without thinking further, he would go home to his room. He would lie in bed and finally, with daylight, he ‘would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it’s probably only insomnia. Many must have it. And the sleepless man-the man obsessed by death, by the meaninglessness of the world, by nothingness, by nada-is one of the recurring symbols in the works of Hemingway. In this phase Hemingway is a religious writer. The despair beyond plenty of money, the despair which makes a sleeplessness beyond insomnia, is the despair felt by a man who hungers for the certainties and meaningfulness of a religious faith but who cannot find in his world a ground for that faith. Another recurring symbol, we have said, is the violent man. But the sleepless man and the violent man are not contradictory but complementary symbols. They represent phases of the same question, the same hungering for meaning in the world. The sleepless man is the man brooding upon nada, upon chaos, upon Nature-as-all. (For Nature-as-all equals moral chaos; even its bulls and lions and kudu are not admired by Hemingway as creatures of consicous self-discipline; their courage is meaningful only in so far as it symbolizes human courage.yf 7 K H Y L R O H Q W P D n is the man taking an action appropriate to the realization of the fact of nada. He is, in other words, engaged in the effort to dis- cover human values in a naturalistic world. Before we proceed with this line of discussion, it might be This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 7 asked, “Why does Hemingway feel that the quest necessarily in- volves violence?” Now, at one level, the answer to this question would involve the whole matter of the bias toward violence in modern literature. But let us take it in its more immediate reference. The typical Hemingway hero is the man aware, or in the process of becoming aware, of nada. Death is the great nada. Therefore whatever solution the hero gets must, to be good, stick even against the fact of death. It has to be good in the bull- ring or on the battle field and not merely in the study or lecture room. In fact, Hemingway is anti-intellectual, and has a great contempt for any type of solution arrived at without the testings of immediate experience. One of his more uningratiating pass- ages- again from “A Natural History of the Dead”- makes the point amply clear: The only natural death I’ve ever seen, outside of the loss of blood, which isn’t bad, was death from Spanish influenza. In this you drown in mucus, choking, and how you know the patient’s dead is: at the end he turns to be a little child again, though with his manly force, and fills the sheets as full as any diaper with one vast, final yellow cataract that flows and dribbles on after he is gone. So now I want to see the death of any self-styled Humanist because a persevering traveller like Mungo Park or me lives on and maybe yet will see the actual death of members of this literary sect and watch the noble exits they make. In my musings as a naturalist it has occurred to me that while decorum is an excellent thing, some must be indecorous if the race is to be carried on since the position de- scribed for procreation is indecorous, highly indecorous, and it oc- curred to me that perhaps that is what these people are, or were: the children of decorous cohabitation. But regardless of how they started I hope to see the finish of a few, and speculate how worms will try that long preserved sterility; with their quaint pamphlets gone to bust and into foot-notes all their lust. So aside from the question of a dramatic sense which would favor violence, and aside from the mere matter of personal tem- perament (for Hemingway describes himself on more than one occasion as obsessed by deathyf W K H S U H V H Q W D W L R Q R I Y L R O H Q F H L s appropriate in his work because death is the great nada. In This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 8 KENYON REVIEW taking violent risks man confronts in dramatic terms the issue of nada which is implicit in all of Hemingway’s world. But to return to our general line of discussion. There are two aspects to this violence which is involved in the quest of the Hem– ingway hero, two aspects which seem to represent an ambivalent attitude toward nature. First, there is the conscious sinking into nature, shall we call it. On this line of reasoning we would find something like this: if there is at center only nada, then the only sute compensation in life, the only reality, is gratification of appetite, the relish of sen- sation. Continually in the stories and novels one finds such sen- tences as this from Green Hills of Africa: ” . . . drinking this, the first one of the day, the finest one there is, and looking at the thick bush we passed in the dark, feeling the cool wind of the night and smelling the good smell of Africa, I was altogether happy.” What is constantly interesting in such sentences is the fact that happiness, a notion which we traditionally connect with a complicated state of being, with notions of virtue, of achievement, etc., is here equated with a set of merely agreeable sensations. The careful relish of sensation-that is what counts, always. This intense awareness of the world of the senses is, of course, one of the things which made the early work of Hemingway seem, upon its first impact, so fresh and pure. Physical nature is no- where rendered with greater vividness than in his work, and prob- ably his only competitors in this department of literature are William Faulkner, among the modern, and Henry David Thoreau, among the older American writers. The meadows, forests, lakes, and trout streams of America, and the arid, sculpturesque mount- ains of Spain, appear with astonishing immediacy, an immediacy not dependent upon descriptive flourishes. But not only the ap- pearance of landscape is important; a great deal of the freshness comes from the discrimination of sensation, the coldness of water in the “squlchy” shoes after wading, the tangy smell of dry sage brush, the “cleanly” smell of grease and oil on a field piece. This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 9 Hemingway’s appreciation and rendering of the aesthetic quality of the physical world is important, but a peculiar poignancy is implicit in the rendering of those qualities; the beauty of the physical world is a background for the human predicament, and the very relishing of the beauty is merely a kind of desperate and momentary compensation possible in the midst of the predicament. This careful relishing of the world of the senses comes to a climax in drinking and sex. Drink is the “giant-killer,” the weapon against man’s thought of nada. And so is sex, for that matter, though when sexual attraction achieves the status of love, the process is one which attempts to achieve a meaning rather than to forget meaninglessness in the world. In terms of drinking and sex, the typical Hemingway hero is a man of monel-metal stomach and Homeric prowess in the arts of love. And the typical situation is love, with some drinking, against the background of nada-of civilization gone to pot, or war, or death-as we get it in all of the novels in one form or another, and in many of the stories. It is important to remember, however, that the sinking into nature, even at the level of drinking and mere sexuality, is a self- conscious act. It is not the random gratification of appetite. We see this quite clearly in The Sun Also Rises in the contrast be- tween Cohn, who is merely a random dabbler in the world of sensation, who is merely trying to amuse himself, and the initiates like Jake and Brett, who are aware of the nada at the center of things and whose dissipations, therefore, have a philosophical significance. The initiate in Hemingway’s world raises the grati- fication of appetite to the level of a cult and a discipline. The cult of sensation, as we have already indicated, passes over very readily into the cult of true love, for the typical love story is presented primarily in terms of the cult of sensation. (A Farewell to Arms, as we shall see when we come to a detailed study of that novel, is closely concerned with that transition.yf Even in the cult of true love it is the moment which counts, and the individual. There is never any past or future to the love This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 10 KENYON REVIEW stories and the lovers are always isolated, not moving in an ordinary human society within its framework of obligations. The notion of the cult-a secret cult composed of those who have been initiated into the secret of nada-is constantly played up. In A Farewell to Arms, for instance, Catherine and Frederick are, quite consciously, two against the world, a world which is, literally as well as figuratively, an alien world. The peculiar relationship between Frederick and the priest takes on a new significance if viewed in terms of the secret cult. We shall come to this topic later, but for the moment we can say that the priest is a priest of Divine Love, the subject about which he and Fred- erick converse in the hospital, and that Frederick himself is a kind of priest, one of the initiate in the end, of the cult of profane love. This same pattern of two against the world, with an understanding confidante or interpreter, reappears in For Whom the Bell Tolls -with Pilar, the gipsy woman who understands “love,” substitut- ing for the priest of A Farewell to Arms. The initiates of the cult of love are those who are aware of nada, but their effort, as members of the cult, is to find a meaning to put in place of the nada. That is, there is an attempt to make the relationship of love take on a religious significance in so far as it can give meaning to life. This general topic is not new with the work of Hemingway. It is one of the literary themes of the 19th Century-and has, as a matter of fact, a much longer history than that. But we find it fully stated in the last century in many instances. To take one, there is “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold. In a world from which religious faith has been removed the lovers can only turn to each other to find significance in life: Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 11 Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night. If the cult of love arises from and states itself in the language of the cult of sensation, it is an extension of the sinking-into-nature aspect of the typical Hemingway violence; but in so far as it in- volves a discipline and a search for a “faith,” it leads us to the sec- ond aspect of the typical violence. The violence, although in its first aspect it represents a sinking into nature, at the same time, in its second aspect, represents a conquest of nature, and of nada in man. It represents such a con- quest, not because of the fact of violence, but because the violence appears in terms of discipline, a style, and a code. It is, as we have already seen, in terms of a self-imposed discipline that the heroes make one gallant, though limited, effort to redeem the incoher- ence of the world: they attempt to impose some form upon the dis- order of their lives, the technique of the bull fighter or sportsman, the discipline of the soldier, the fidelity of the lover, or even the code of the gangster, which, though brutal and apparently dehu- manizing, has its own ethic. The discipline, the form, is never quite capable of subduing the world, but fidelity to it is part of the gallantry of defeat. By fi- delity to it the hero manages to keep one small place “clean” and “well-lighted,” and manages to retain, or achieve for one last mo- ment, his dignity. As the old Spanish waiter muses, there should be a “clean, well-lighted place” where one could keep one’s dignity at the late hour. We have said earlier that the typical Hemingway character is tough and, apparently, insensitive. But only apparently, for the fidelity to a code, to the discipline, may be the index to a sensitivity which allows the characters to see, at moments, their true plight. At times, and usually at times of stress, it is the tough man in the Hemingway world, the disciplined man, who is actually aware of pathos or tragedy. The individual toughness (which may be taken This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 12 KENYON REVIEW to be the private discipline demanded by the worldyf P D I L Q G L W – self in conflict with the natural human reaction; but the Heming- way hero, though he may be aware of the claims of the natural reaction, the spontaneous human emotion, cannot surrender to it because he knows that the only way to hold on to the definition of himself, to “honor” or “dignity,” is to maintain the discipline, the code. For example, when pity appears in the Hemingway world as in “The Pursuit Race” – it does not appear in its maximum but in its minimum manifestation. What this means in terms of style and method is the use of understatement. This understatement, stemming from the con- trast between the sensitivity and the superimposed discipline, is a constant aspect of the work, an aspect which was caught in a car- toon in the New Yorker. The cartoon showed a brawny, muscle- knotted forearm and a hairy hand which clutched a rose. It was entitled “The Soul of Ernest Hemingway.” Just as there is a mar- gin of victory in the defeat of the Hemingway characters, so there is a little margin of sensitivity in their brutal and apparently in- sensitive world. Hence we have the ironical circumstance – a central circumstance in creating the pervasive irony of Heming- way’s work – that the revelation of the values characteristic of his work arises from the most unpromising people and the most un- promising situations – the little streak of poetry or pathos in “The Pursuit Race,” “The Killers,” “My Old Man,” “A Clean, Well- Lighted Place,” or “The Undefeated.” We have a perfect example of it in the last named story. After the defeat of the old bull fight- er, who is lying wounded on an operating table, Zurito, the pica- dor, is about to cut off his pigtail, the mark of his profession. But when the wounded man starts up, despite his pain, and says, “You couldn’t do a thing like that,” Zurito says, “I was joking.” Zurito becomes aware that, after all, the old bull fighter is, in a way, un- defeated, and deserves to die with his coleta on. This locating of the poetic, the pathetic, or the tragic in the unpromising person or situation is not unique with Hemingway. This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 13 It is something with which we are acquainted in a great deal of our literature since the Romantic Movement. The sensibility is played down, and an anti-romantic surface sheathes the work; the point is in the contrast. The impulse which led Hemingway to the simple character is akin to that which drew Wordsworth to the same choice. Wordsworth felt that his unsophisticated peasants were more honest in their responses than the cultivated man, and were therefore more poetic. Instead of Wordsworth’s peasant we have in Hemingway’s work the bull fighter, the soldier, the revolutionist, the sportsman, and the gangster; instead of Wordsworth’s children we have the young men like Nick, the person just on the verge of being initiated into the world. There are, of course, differences between the approach of Wordsworth and that of Hemingway, but there is little difference on the point of marginal sensibility. In one sense, both are anti-intel- lectual, and in such poems as “Resolution and Independence” or “Michael” one finds even closer ties. I have just indicated a similarity between Wordsworth and Hemingway on the grounds of a romantic anti-intellectualism. But with Hemingway it is far more profound and radical than with Wordsworth. All we have to do to see the difference is to put Wordsworth’s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads over against any number of passages from Hemingway. The intellectualism of the 18th Century had merely put a veil of stereotyped language over all the world and a veil of snobbism over a large area of human experience. That is Wordsworth’s indictment. But Hemingway’s indictment of the intellectualism of the past is that it wound up in the mire and blood of 1914 to 1918; that it was a pack of lies leading to death. We can put over against the Preface of Words- worth, a passage from A Farewell to Arms: I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 14 KENYON REVIEW slapped up by biliposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glori- ous had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity . . . . Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates. I do not mean to say that the general revolution in style, and the revolt against the particular intellectualism of the 19th Century was a result of the World War, 1914-18. As a matter of fact, that revolt was going on long before the war, but for Hemingway, and for many others, the war gave the stiuation a peculiar depth and urgency. Perhaps we might scale the matter thus: Wordsworth was a revolutionist-he truly had a new view of the world-but his re- volutionary view left great tracts of the world untouched; the Church of England, for instance. Arnold and Tennyson, a gen- eration or so later, though not revolutionists themselves, are much more profoundly stirred by the revolutionary situation than ever Wordsworth was; that is, the area of the world involved in the debate was for them greater. Institutions are called into question in a more fundamental way. But they managed to hang on to their English God and their English institutions. With Hardy, the area of disturbance has grown greater, and what can be salvaged is much less. He, like the earlier Victorians, had a strong sense of community to sustain him in the face of the universe which was for him, as not finally for Arnold and Tennyson, unfriendly, or at least neutral and Godless. But his community underlay institu- tions, a human communion which as a matter of fact was constantly being violated by institutions; and this violation is, in fact, a con- stant source of subject matter and a constant spring of irony. Nevertheless Hardy could refer to himself as a meliorist. But with Hemingway, though there is a secret community, it This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 15 has greatly shrunk, and its definition has become much more specialized. Its members are those who know the code. They recognize each other, they know the password and the secret grip, but they are few in number, and each is set off against the world like a wounded lion ringed round by waiting hyenas. (Green Hills of Africa gives us the hyena symbol-the animal whose death is comic because it is all hideously “appetite,” wounded, it eats its own intestines.yf ) X U W K H U P R U H W K L V V H F U H W F R P P X Q L W L V Q R t constructive; Hemingway is no meliorist. In fact, there are hints that somewhere in the back of his mind, and in behind his work, there is a kind of Spenglerian view of history: our civilization is running down. We get this most explicitly in Green Hills of Africa: A continent ages quickly once we come. The natives live in harmony with it. But the foreigner destroys, cuts down the trees, drains the water, so that the water supply is altered and in a short time the soil, once the sod is turned under, is cropped out and, next, it starts to blow away as it has blown away in every old country and as I had seen it start to blow in Canada. The earth gets tired of being exploited. A country wears out quickly unless man puts back in it all his residue and that of all his beasts. When he quits using beasts and uses machines, the earth defeats him quickly. The machine can’t reproduce, nor does it fertilize the soil, and it eats what he cannot raise. A country was made to be as we found it. We are the intruders and after we are dead we may have ruined it but it will still be there and we don’t know what the next changes are. I suppose they all end up like Mongolia. I would come back to Africa but not to make a living from it . . . . But I would come back to where it pleased me to live; to really live. Not just let my life pass. Our people went to America because that was the place for them to go then. It had been a good country and we had made a bloody mess of it and I would go, now, somewhere else as we had always had the right to go somewhere else and as we had always gone. You could always come back. Let the others come to America who did not know that they had come too late. Our people had seen it at its best and fought for it when it was well worth fighting for. Now I would go somewhere else. This is the most explicit statement, but the view is implicit in case after case. The general human community, the general hu- This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 16 KENYON REVIEW man project, has gone to pot. There is only the little secret community of, paradoxically enough, individualists who have resigned from the general community, and who are strong enough to live without any illusions, lies, and big words of the herd. At least, this is the case up to the novel To Have and To Have Not, In that novel and in For Whom the Bell Tolls Hemingway at- tempts to return, as it were, his individualistic hero to society, to give him a common stake with the fate of other men. But to come back to the matter of Wordsworth and Heming- way. What in Wordsworth is merely simple or innocent is in Hemingway violent: the gangster or bull-fighter replaces the leech- gatherer or the child. Hemingway’s world is a more disordered world, and the sensibility of his characters is more ironically in contrast with their world. The most immediate consideration here is the playing down of the sensibility as such, the sheathing of it in the code of toughness. Gertrude Stein’s tribute is here relevant: “Hemingway is the shyest and proudest and sweetest- smelling story-teller of my reading.” But this shyness manifests itself in the irony. In this, of course, Hemingway’s irony corres- ponds to the Byronic irony. But the relation to Byron is even more fundamental. The pity is only valid when it is wrung from the man who has been seasoned by experience. Therefore a pre- mium is placed on the fact of violent experience. The “dumb ox” character, commented on by Wyndham Lewis, represents the Wordsworthian peasant; the character with the code of the tough guy, the initiate, the man cultivating honor, gallantry, and reck- lessness, represents the Byronic aristocrat. The failures of Hemingway, like his successes, are also rooted in this situation. The successes occur in those instances where Hem- ingway accepts the essential limitations of his premises, that is, when there is an equilibrium between the dramatization and the characteristic Hemingway “point,” when the system of ironies and understatements is coherent. On the other hand, the failures occur when we feel that Hemingway has not respected the limitations of This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 17 his premises; that is, when the dramatization seems to be “rigged” and the violence, therefore, merely theatrical. The characteristic irony, or understatement, in such cases, seems to be too self-con- scious. For example, let us glance at Hemingway’s most spec- tacular failure, To Have and To Have Not. The point of the novel is based on the contrast between the smuggler and the rich owners of the yachts along the quay. But the irony is essentially an irony without center or reference. It is superficial, for, as a critic in the Partisan Review indicated, the only difference between the smug- gler and the rich is that the rich were successful in their buccaneer- ing. The revelation which comes to the smuggler dying in his launch-“a man alone ain’t got no . . chance”-is a meaningless revelation, for it has no reference to the actual dramatization. It is, finally, a failure in intellectual analysis of the situation. In the same way, the much advertised “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” is a failure. Much has been said to the effect that To Have and To Have Not and For Whom the Bell Tolls represent a basic change of point of view, an enlargement of what I have called the secret community. Now no doubt that is the intention behind both books, but the temper of both books is the old temper, the cast of characters is the old cast, and the assumptions lying far below the explicit intention are the old assumptions. The monotony and self-imitation into which Hemingway’s work sometimes falls is again an effect of a failure in dramatiza- tion. Hemingway, apparently, can dramatize his “point” in only one basic situation and with only one set of characters. As we have seen, he has only two key characters, with certain variations from them in terms of contrast or counterpoint. His best women char- acters, by the way, are those which most nearly approximate the men; that is, they embody the masculine virtues and point of view characteristic of Hemingway’s work. But the monotony is not merely a monotony deriving from the characters as types; it derives, rather from the limitations of the This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 18 KENYON REVIEW author’s sensibility, which can find interest only in one issue. A more flexible sensibility, one capable of making nicer discrimina- tions, might discover great variety in such key characters and situa- tions. But Hemingway’s successes are due, in part at least, to the close coordination which he sometimes achieves between the char- acter and situation on the one hand, and the sensibility as it re- flects itself in the style, on the other hand. The style characteristically is simple, even to the point of monotony. The characteristic sentence is simple, or compound; and if compound, there is no implied subtlety in the coordination of the clauses. The paragraph structure is, characteristically, based on simple sequence. There is an obvious relation between this style and the characters and situations with which the author is concerned – a question of dramatic decorum. (There are, on the other hand, examples, especially in the novels, of other more flu- ent, lyrical effects, but even here this fluency is founded on the conjunction and; it is a rhythmical and not a logical fluency. And the lyrical quality is simply a manifestation of that marginal sen- sibility, as can be demonstrated by an analysis of the occasions on which it appears.yf % X W W K H U H L V D P R U H I X Q G D P H Q W D O D V S H F W R I W K e question, an aspect which involves not the sensibility of the char- acters but the sensibility of the author. The short simple rhythms, the succession of coordinate clauses, the general lack of subordina- tion all suggest a dislocated and ununified world. The fig- ures which live in this world live a sort of hand-to-mouth existence perceptually, and conceptually, they hardly live at all. 2. A Farewell to Arms is a love story. It is a compelling story at the merely personal level, but is much more compelling and sig- nificant when we see the figures of the lovers silhouetted against the flame-streaked blackness of war, of a collapsing world, of nada. For there is a story behind the love story. That story is the quest for meaning and certitude in a world which seems to offer This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 19 nothing of the sort. It is, in a sense, a religious book; if it does not offer a religious solution it is nevertheless conditioned by the religious problem. The very first scene of the book, though seemingly casual, is important if we are to understand the deeper motivations of the story. It is the scene at the officers’ mess where the captain baits the priest. “Priest every night five against one,” the captain ex- plains to Frederick. But Frederick, we see in this and later scenes, takes no part in the baiting. There is a bond between him and the priest, a bond which they both recognize.. This becomes clear when, after the officers have advised Frederick where he should go on his leave to find the best girls, the priest turns to him and says that he would like for him to go to Abruzzi, his own province: “There is good hunting. You would like the people and though it is cold it is clear and dry. You could stay with my family. My father is a famous hunter.” “Come on,” said the captain. “We go whorehouse before it shuts.” “Goodnight,” I said to the priest. “Goodnight,” he said. In the preliminary contrast between the officers, who invite the hero to go to the brothels, and the priest, who invites him to go to the cold, clear, dry country, we have in its simplest form the issue of the novel. Frederick does go with the officers that night, and on his leave he does go to the cities, “to the smoke of cafes and nights when the room whirled and you needed to look at the wall to make it stop, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that that was all there was, and the strange excitement of waking and not knowing who it was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all and all and not caring.” Frederick at the opening of the novel lives in the world of random and mean- ingless appetite, knowing that it is all and all and all, or thinking that he knows that. But behind that there is a dissatisfaction and This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 20 KENYON REV I EW disgust. Upon his return from his leave, sitting in the officers’ mess, he tries to tell the priest how he is sorry that he had not gone to the clear, cold, dry country – the priest’s home, which takes on the shadowy symbolic significance of another kind of life, another view of the world. The priest had always known that other coun- try. He had always known what I did not know and what, when I learned it, I was always able to forget. But I did not know that then, although I learned it later. What Frederick learns later is the story behind the love story of the book. But this theme is not merely stated at the opening of the novel and then absorbed into the action. It appears later, at crucial points, to define the line of meaning in the action. When, for example, Frederick is wounded, the priest visits him in the hos- pital. Their conversation makes even plainer the religious back- ground of the novel. The priest has said that he would like to go back after the war to the Abruzzi. He continues: “It does not matter. But there in my country it is understood that a man may love God. It is not a dirty joke.” “I understand.” He looked at me and smiled. “You understand but you do not love God.” “No.” “You do not love him at all ?” he asked. “I am afraid of him in the night sometimes.” “You should love Him.” “I don’t love much.” “Yes,” he said. “You do. ‘What you tell me about in the nights. That is not love. That is only passion and lust. When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.” “I don’t love.” “You will. I know you will. Then you will be happy.” We have here two items of importance.. First, there is the definition of Frederick as the sleepless man, the man haunted by This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 21 nada. Second, at this stage in the novel, the end of Book I, the true meaning of the love story with Catherine has not yet been de- fined. It is still at the level of appetite. The priest’s role is to indicate the next stage of the story, the discovery of the true na- ture of love, the “wish to do things for.” And he accomplishes this by indicating a parallel between secular love and Divine love, a parallel which implies Frederick’s quest for meaning and certi- tude. And to emphasize further this idea, Frederick, after the priest leaves, muses on the high, clean country of the Abruzzi, the priest’s home which has already been endowed with the symbolic significance of the religious view of the world. In the middle of Book II (Chapter xviiiyf L Q Z K L F K W K H O R Y e story begins to take on the significance which the priest had pre- dicted, the point is indicated by a bit of dialogue between the lovers. “Couldn’t we be married privately some way? Then if anything happened to me or if you had a child.” “There’s no way to be married except by church or state. We are married privately. You see, darling, it would mean everything to me if I had any religion. But I haven’t any religion.” “You gave me the Saint Anthony.” “That was for luck. Some one gave it to me.” “Then nothing worries you ?” “Only being sent away from you. You’re my religion. You’re all I’ve got.” Again, toward the end of Book IV (Chapter xxxvyf M X V W E H I R U e Frederick and Catherine make their escape into Switzerland, Fred- erick is talking with a friend, the old Count Greffi, who has just said that he thought H. G. Wells’s novel Mr. Britling Sees It Through a very good study of the English middle-class soul. But Frederick twists the word soul into another meaning. “I don’t know about the soul.” “Poor boy. We none of us know about the soul. Are you Croy- ant ?” “At night.” This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 22 KENYON REV I EW Later in the same conversation the Count returns to the topic: “And if you ever become devout pray for me if I am dead. I am asking several of my friends to do that. I had expected to be- come devout myself but it has not come.” I thought he smiled sadly but I could not tell. He was so old and his face was very wrinkled, so that a smile used so many lines that all graduations were lost. “I might become very devout,” I said. “Anyway, I will pray for you. “I had always expected to become devout. All my family died very devout. But somehow it does not come.” “It’s too early.” “Maybe it is too late. Perhaps I have outlived my religious feeling.” “My own comes only at night.” “Then too you are in love. Do not forget that is a religious feeling.” So here, again, we find Frederick defined as the sleepless man, and the relation established between secular love and Divine love. In the end, with the death of Catherine, Frederick discovers that the attempt to find a substitute for universal meaning in the limited meaning of the personal relationship is doomed to failure. It is doomed because it is liable to all the accidents of a world in which human beings are like the ants running back and forth on a log bumring in a campfire and in which death is, as Catherine says immediately before her own death, “just a dirty trick.” But this is not to deny the value of the effort, or to deny the value of the dis- cipline, the code, the stoic endurance, the things which make it true – or half true – that “nothing ever happens to the brave.” This question of the characteristic discipline takes us back to the beginning of the book, and to the context from which Freder- ick’s effort arises. We have already mentioned the contrast be- tween the officers of the mess and the priest. It is a contrast based on the man who is aware of the issue of meaning in life and those who are unaware of it, who give themselves over to the mere flow of accident, the contrast between the disciplined and the undis- ciplined. But the contrast is not merely between the priest and the This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 23 officers. Frederick’s friend, the surgeon Rinaldi, is another who is on the same “side” of the contrast as the priest. He may go to the brothel with his brother officers, he may even bait the priest a little, but his personal relationship with Frederick indicates his affilia- tions; he is one of the initiate. Furthermore, he has the discipline of his profession, and as we have seen, in the Hemingway world, the discipline which seems to be merely technical, the style of the artist or the form of the athlete or bull fighter, may be an index to a moral value. “Already,” he says, “I am only happy when I am working.” (Already because the seeking of pleasure in sensa- tion is inadequate for Rinaldi.yf 7 K L V S R L Q W D S S H D U V P R U H V K D U S O y in the remarks about the doctor who first attends to Frederick’s wounded leg. He is incompetent and does not wish to take the responsibility for a decision. Before he came back three doctors came into the room. I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of medicine have a tendency to seek one another’s company and aid in consultation. A doctor who cannot take out your appendix properly will recommend to you a doctor who will be unable to remove your tonsils with suc- cess. These were three such doctors. In contrast with them there is Dr. Valentini, who is competent, who is willing to take responsibility, and who, as a kind of mark of his role, speaks the same lingo, with the same bantering, ironical tone, as Rinaldi – the tone which is the mark of the initiate. So we have the world of the novel divided into two groups, the initiate and the uninitiate, the aware and the unaware, the disciplined and the undisciplined. In the first group are Freder- ick, Catherine, Rinaldi, Valentini, Count Greffi, the old man who cut the paper silhouettes “for pleasure,” and Passini, Manera, and the other ambulance men in Frederick’s command. In the second group are the officers of the mess, the incompetent doctors, the “legitimate hero” Ettore, and the “patriots” all the people who do not know what is really at stake, who are decided by the big words, who do not have the discipline. They are the messy people, This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 24 KENYON REVIEW the people who surrender to the flow and illusion of things. It is this second group who provide the context of the novel, and more especially the context from which Frederick moves toward his final complete awareness. The final awareness means, as we have said, that the individual is thrown back upon his private discipline and his private capacity to endure. The hero cuts himself off from the herd, the confused world, which symbolically appears as the routed army at Caporetto. And, as Malcolm Cowley has pointed out, the plunge into the flooded Tagliamento, when Frederick escapes from the battle police, has the significance of a rite. By this “baptism” Frederick is reborn into another world; he comes out into the world of the man alone, no longer supported by and involved in society. Anger was washed away in the river along with my obligation. Although that ceased when the carabiniere put his hands on my col- lar. I would like to have had the uniform off although I did not care much about the outward forms. I had taken off the stars, but that was for convenience. It was no point of honor. I was not against them. I was through. I wished them all the luck. There were the good ones, and the brave ones, and the calm ones and the sensible ones, and they deserved it. But it was not my show any more and I wished this bloody train would get to Maestre and I would eat and stop thinking. So Frederick, by a decision, does what the boy Nick, in In Our Time, does as the result of the accident of a wound. He makes a “separate peace.” And from the waters of the flooded Taglia- mento arises the Hemingway hero in his purest form, with human history and obligation washed away, ready to enact the last phase of his appropriate drama, and learn from his inevitable defeat the lesson of lonely fortitude. 3. This is not the time to attempt to give a final evaluation of Hemingway’s work as a whole or even of this particular novel- if there is ever a time for a “final” evaluation. But we may touch This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 25 on some of the objections which have been brought against his work. First, there is the objection that his work is immoral or dirty or disgusting. This objection appeared in various quarters against A Farewell to Arms at the time of its first publication. For instance, Robert Herrick, himself a respected novelist, wrote that if sup- pression were to be justified at all it would be justified in this case. He said that the book had no significance, was merely a “lustful indulgence,” and smelled of the “boudoir,” and summarized his view by calling it “garbage.” That objection has for the most part died out, but its echoes can still be occasionally heard, and now and then, at rare intervals, some bigot or highminded but uninstructed moralist will object to the inclusion of A Farewell to Arms in a college course. The answer to such an objection is fundamentally an answer to the charge that the book has no meaning. The answerer must seek to establish the fact that the book does deal seriously with a moral and philosophical issue, which, for better or worse, does ex- ist in the modern world in substantially the terms presented by Hemingway. This means that the book, even if it does not end with a solution which is generally acceptable, still embodies a moral effort and is another document of the human will to achieve ideal values. As for the bad effect it may have on some readers, the best answer is perhaps to be found in a quotation from Thomas Hardy, who is now sanctified but whose most famous novels, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, once suffered the at- tacks of the dogmatic moralists, and one of whose books was burned by a bishop: Of the effects of such sincere presentation on weak minds, when the courses of the characters are not exemplary and the rewards and punishments ill adjusted to deserts, it is not our duty to consider too closely. A novel which does moral injury to a dozen imbeciles, and has bracing results upon intellects of normal vigor, can justify its existence; and probably a novel was never written by the purest- This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 26 KENYON REVIEW minded author for which there could not be found some moral in- valid or other whom it was capable of harming. Second, there is the objection that Hemingway’s work, especial- ly of the period before To Have and To Have Not, has no social relevance, that it is off the main stream of modern life, and that it has no concern with the economic structure of society. Critics who hold this general view regard Hemingway, like Joseph Conrad and perhaps like Henry James, as an exotic. There are several possible lines of retort to this objection. One line is well stated in the following passage if we substitute the name of Hemingway for Conrad: Thus it is no reproach to Conrad that he does not concern him- self at all with the economic and social background underlying hu- man relationships in modern civilization, for he never sets out to study those relationships. The Marxists cannot accuse him of cow- ardice or falsification, because in this case the charge is not relevant [though it might be relevant to To, Have and To Have Not or to For Whom the Bell Tolls]. That, from the point of view of the man with a theory, there are accidents in history, no one can deny. And if a writer chooses to discuss those accidents rather than the events which follow the main stream of historical causation, the economic or other determinist can only shrug his shoulder and maintain that these events are less instructive to the students than are the major events which he chooses to study; but he cannot accuse the writer of falsehood or distortion.2 That much is granted by one of the ablest critics of the group who would find Hemingway an exotic. But a second line of retort would fix on the word instructive in the foregoing passage, and would ask what kind of instruction, if any, is to be expected of fic- tion, as fiction. Is the kind of instruction expected of fiction in di- rect competition, at the same level, with the kind of instruction offered in Political Science I or Economics II ? If that is the case, then out with Shakespeare and Keats and in with Upton Sinclair. 2. David Daiches: Fiction in the Afodern World. This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to ROBERT PENN WARREN 27 Perhaps instruction is not a relevant word, after all, for this case. This is a very thorny and debatable question, but it can be ventured that what good fiction gives us is the stimulation of a powerful image of human nature trying to fulfill itself and not in- struction in an abstract sense. The economic and the political man are important aspects of human nature and may well constitute part of the materials of fiction. But the economic or political man is not the complete man and other concerns may still be important enough to engage worthily the attention of a writer – such con- cerns as love, death, courage, the point of honor, and the moral scruple. A man does not only have to live with other men in terms of economic and political arrangements; he has to live with them in terms of moral arrangements, and he has to live with him- self, he has to define himself. It can truly be said that these con- cerns are all inter-related in fact, but it might be dangerously dog- matic to insist that a writer should not bring one aspect into sharp, dramatic focus. And it might be dangerously dogmatic to insist that Heming- way’s ideas are not relevant to modem life. The mere fact that they exist and have stirred a great many people is a testimony to their relevance. Or to introduce a variation on that theme, it might be dogmatic to object to his work on the ground that he has few basic ideas. The history of literature seems to show that good artists may have very few basic ideas. They may have many ideas, but the ideas do not lead a life of democratic give-and-take, of genial camaraderie. No, there are usually one or two basic, ob- sessive ones. Like the religious reformer Savonarola, the artist may say: “Le mie cose erano poche e grandi” – my ideas were few and grand. And the ideas of the artist are grand because they are intensely felt, intensely realized – not because, by objective stand- ards, by public, statistical standards, “important.” No, that kind of public, statistical importance may be a condition of their being grand but is not of the special essence of their grandeur. (Per- haps not even the condition – perhaps the grandeur inheres in This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to 28 KENYON REVIEW the fact that the artistic work shows us a parable of meaning how idea is felt and how passion becomes idea through order.yf An artist may need few basic ideas, but in assessing his work we must introduce another criterion in addition to that of inten- sity. We must introduce the criterion of area. In other words, his basic ideas do not operate in splendid isolation; to a greater or lesser degree, they operate in terms of their conquest of other ideas. Or again differently, the focus is a focus of experience, and the area of experience involved gives us another criterion of condition, the criterion of area. Perhaps an example would be helpful here. We have said that Hemingway is concerned with the scruple of honor, that this is a basic idea in his work. But we find that he ap- plies this idea to a relatively small area of experience. In fact, we never see a story in which the issue involves the problem of defini- tion of the scruple, or we never see a story in which honor calls for a slow, grinding, day-to-day conquest of nagging difficulties. In other words, the idea is submitted to the test of a relatively small area of experience, to experience of a hand-picked sort, and to characters of a limited range. But within that range, within the area in which he finds the congenial material and in which competing ideas do not intrude themselves too strongly, Hemingway’s expressive capacity is very powerful and the degree of intensity is very great. He is con- cerned not to report variety of human nature or human situation, or to analyze the forces operating in society, but to communicate a certain feeling about, a certain attitude toward, a special issue. That is, he is essentially a lyric rather than a dramatic writer, and for the lyric writer virtue depends upon the intensity with which the personal vision is rendered rather than upon the creation of a variety of characters whose visions are in conflict among them- selves. And though Hemingway has not furnished-and never in- tended to furnish-document and diagnosis of our age, he has given us one of its most compelling symbols. This content downloaded from on Wed, 08 Nov 2017 21:21:15 UTC All use subject to
Research Paper After reading, watching, and studying the Canvas module resources, write at least an 650 word essay supporting the claim, Francis Macomber goes on the hero’s journey.Use in text citatio
Margot Macomber’s Gimlet Author(syf % H U W % H Q G H r Source: College Literature, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Winter, 1981yf S S 0 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: Accessed: 04-11-2017 16:15 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at The Johns Hopkins University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to College Literature This content downloaded from on Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:15:42 UTC All use subject to 12 MARGOT MACOMBER’S GIMLET Bert Bender In its treatment of “the great American boy-men” and “American fe male cruelty,” “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” is one of the most self-consciously American stories by one of our most American writers. But over the last decades the story has become even more American than Hemingway could have imagined: projecting recent shifts in American values, critics have wrenched from it a meaning that distorts what Heming way seems to have had in mind when he wrote the story in 1936. Mark Spilka complained about this in 1960, pointing out that critics had failed to make the vital connection between the Macomber story and Hemingway’s life’s work, his vision and style. Spilka’s example was Warren Beck, who, in “The Shorter Happy Life of Mrs. Macomber,” had argued that the story is about Margot Macomber’s regeneration through love: her short happy life exists when she shoots at the buffalo in order to save Francis (this has been the greatest point of contention among critics?whether Margot’s shot was an accident, whether she did or did not, consciously or unconsciously, mur der Francisyf ‘ H V S L W H 6 S L O N D V D G Y L F H K R Z H Y H U W K H V W R U V L Q W H U S U H W H U s since 1960 have tended increasingly to project the revolution in our cultural values, arguing that Margot is the heroine and that the guide Wilson and even Francis are villains: Hemingway, himself, and the virile male who dominated the bloody world we associate with Green Hills of Africa have lost their appeal as America greened and the women’s movement flowered. Thus, in 1973 the Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual published an article titled “Margot Macomber: ‘Bitch Goddess’ Exonerated,” whose point is that “the American woman’s hardness has been brought about as a result of her husband’s weakness. Perhaps it’s not the women who pick the men they can handle, but the men who pick women that can handle them. ‘ ‘ 2 The question for critics is, should we seek to interpret Hemingway’s story about American “boy-men” and “female cruelty,” or America’s changing attitude about Hemingway’s fiction? My own feeling is that we owe Hemingway’s story a closer reading than we have yet managed and, further, that we can develop such a reading without having to apologize for what we see. That Hemingway’s vision and values may offend us today does not justify our rewriting his fiction. The stories Hemingway named as his own favorites in 1938 have at least one thing in common: their remarkably efficient openings.3 One thinks of the poetic first paragraph of “In Another Country,” and of the opening This content downloaded from on Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:15:42 UTC All use subject to MARGOT MACOMBER’S GIMLET 13 dialogue in “Hills like White Elephants,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” and “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”?openings whose first gestures project the story’s unity. In “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” for example, much of the story is contained in the reverberation of death, despair, and nothing ness in the waiters’ first few words. The opening of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” (another of Hemingway’s favoritesyf L V H T X D O O U e markable, but for reasons that aren’t at all apparent: It was now lunch time and they were all sitting under the double green fly of the dining tent pretending that nothing had happened. “Will you have lime juice or lemon squash?” Macomber asked. “I’ll have a gimlet,” Robert Wilson told him. “I’ll have a gimlet too. I need something,” Macomber’s wife said. “I suppose it’s the thing to do,” Macomber agreed. “Tell him to make three gimlets.” The mess boy had started them already, lifting the bottle out of the can vas cooling bags that sweated wet in the wind that blew through the trees that shaded the tents. “What had I ought to give them?” Macomber asked. “A quid would be plenty,” Wilson told him. “You don’t want to spoil them.” “Will the headman distribute it?” “Absolutely.” 4 Most readers see at once how this first sentence sets the stage for the open ing dialogue and how the initial interchange of remarks among Francis, Wilson, and Margot clearly dramatizes the relationship that exists among them throughout the story, until everything changes with Francis’s rebirth. That is, we see an uncertain, ineffectual, and inexperienced Francis ask three questions of his guide, thus beginning an education that will lead him to his new life; we see Wilson assert himself; and we see Margot yield to the strong man’s authority. Francis’s first question reveals that he needs a guide even among these civilized white companions, and his next questions reveal that he is even more insecure in the primitive world of the safari, where his education will take place. It is an impressive little drama; but if this were all, I would hesitate to call attention to it as one of Hemingway’s best openings. He does a great deal more to define his subject, and to establish the stylistic attitude he will as sume toward it, by selecting drinks that are perfectly in character. To begin, we see that Francis has not yet learned Hemingway’s manly art of drinking alcohol. True, he will have a whiskey and soda later this evening, but he will not really taste what Hemingway’s ritual drinking entails until after he kills his bull and finds his courage the next day. Then, the first thing he says, after Wilson certifies his performance (“You shot damn well”yf L V / H W V J o to the car … I want a drink.” Not only does he repeat, after finishing the third, wounded bull, “Let’s get the drink,” but?to make sure that we see This content downloaded from on Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:15:42 UTC All use subject to 14 COLLEGE LITERATURE just how far Francis has come by then?Hemingway has him repeat again, “Let’s all have a drink.” Whereupon they all drink straight whiskey from the flask (p. 29yf $ W W K H E H J L Q Q L Q J R I W K H V W R U K R Z H Y H U K H L V D S S U R S U L D W H O y identified with “lemon squash,” with its suggestion of cowardice and de feat; he has already been crushed by his own cowardice and, as we shall see, by Margot. Hemingway must have had great fun putting these words into Macomber’s own mouth. “Milk” or “Squirt” (if that drink had existed thenyf Z R X O G K D Y H F D U U L H G D V L P L O D U E X W I D U W R R R E Y L R X V P H D Q L Q J / H P R n squash” has the added virtue of being believable: it is a British drink and we can at least concede that the British guide Wilson might have had a supply of it. In short, “lemon squash” is a good invention; it’s the perfect?per haps even the fated?drink for Francis, the only character in any of Hemingway’s African stories ever to mention the drink. But if Hemingway was amused by Francis’s “lemon squash,” he was pre paring to have even more fun with “gimlet.” At first it seems out of charac ter that Robert Wilson?considered by many to be the prime example of Hemingway’s ideal of hawkish virility?should order a gimlet. One would expect such a man to have his hard liquor “straight” or “on the rocks.” Of course there wouldn’t be any “rocks” on the safari, but no character in any of Hemingway’s other African stories ever has a gimlet. Harry in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” drinks whiskey and soda. And in Green Hills of Africa, Pop (Philip Percival, apparently a model for Robert Wilsonyf D Q d Hemingway drink only straight whiskey and water, whiskey and soda, or German beer. Hemingway had all the drinks in the world to choose from, but in this story of sexual violence it is fitting that Wilson ask for a gimlet and that Margot should follow his lead so quickly. Hemingway wanted the sexual suggestion of something like “screwdriver,” but that would have been a dead giveaway. “Gimlet” is perfect: like a “screwdriver,” it is a drink named after a tool?the “small hand tool for boring holes, having a spiraled shank, a screw tip, and a cross handle” (The American Heritage Dictionaryyf 3 H U K D S V K H U H F D O O H G V X F K D Q H D U O L H U X V H R I W K H Z R U G D V + D w thorne’s “gimlet-eyed,” for example (in The House of the Seven Gablesyf , and turned it here to his explicitly sexual purpose. Whatever, “gimlet” is the perfect image to express the general violence and, in particular, the sexu al violence Hemingway depicts on this safari. Clearly, he identifies Wilson with the gimlet in this opening drama and, further, foretells the sexual en counter between Wilson and Margot just hours later. More important, this elaborate selection of drinks and play on words allows Hemingway to ac complish what he wants most?to say it all here first, to have arranged for Margot to say, “I’ll have a gimlet too, I need something.” It all comes to this for Hemingway in this story: Margot needs something?to be domi nated sexually, physically, psychically; and the quashed Francis is incapable of setting things right. This content downloaded from on Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:15:42 UTC All use subject to MARGOT MACOMBER’S GIMLET 15 It is worth noting here that, according to Hemingway’s understanding of the Macombers’ deadly relationship, Margot is not a simple “bitch god dess,” responsible for the whole mess. We learn later that “the way they were together now was no one person’s fault” (p. 34yf 7 K L V L V ) U D Q F L V V V W R U y more than Margot ‘s, and from its first moment Hemingway begins to lead Francis on the educational journey toward his new brief life. Francis’s initial uneducated state exists in his not yet having learned his essential les son concerning the primitive reality of male authority in Hemingway’s world. But he has a guide in Wilson, who knows about gimlets, and whose answer to Francis’s last question about the headman packs a punch like his .505 Gibbs: “Absolutely.” Francis must learn what “headman” means. This intensely efficient opening drama does more, however, than to re veal Hemingway’s vision and values; it suggests much of the story’s pro found unity, as well. In “The Short Happy Life,” the aesthetics of hunting and the aesthetics of storytelling are one: Wilson’s advice to Francis, “It’s the first [shot] in that counts,” applies equally to writing, as we have seen from the deadly accuracy of Hemingway’s “first shot” at the story. Later, Margot will shoot with deadly accuracy, too. (Nor can we fail to hear such shots reverberate throughout the writer’s career, from his haunting remark about the sometimes “dull and blunt. . . instrument you write with”?bet ter to have it dull, he said, and know you had to “hammer it into shape” again and still know you had something to say than have it “bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well oiled in the closet, but un used”?until the end.yf 0 R U H R Y H U W K H V W R U V X Q L W R I V W O H D Q G W R Q e develops out of the attitude Hemingway takes toward his material in the opening scene, with its intense, even perverse, word play. The opening vol ley of off-color puns penetrates to the story’s heart, where the arts of hunt ing, storytelling, and love lie grotesquely intertwined. Many critics have noted the heavy presence of sexual allusion in “The Short Happy Life,” but without seeing its origin in the opening scene; and others seem to have missed Hemingway’s point altogether. Many have noted, for example, how Wilson’s sexual prowess is conveyed in the descrip tion of his rifle and bed: the “short, ugly, shockingly big-bored .505 Gibbs” he grinningly carries onto the scene just as Francis comments on the “frightful,” and Margot the “impressive,” sound of the lion’s roar; and the “double size cot” he carries “on safari to accommodate any windfalls he might receive” (pp. 13, 26yf 6 L P L O D U O L W K D V E H H Q D U J X H G W K D W + H P L Q g way intends a sexual meaning when he has Wilson tell Margot that he could be put “out of business” if the authorities found out that he had chased buffalo with a car (Margot had said it seemed “very unfair,” and Francis notes, “now she has something on you”yf ) X U W K H U W K H U H S H D W H G P H Q W L R Q R f Wilson’s red face seems intended to emphasize a kind of blood-engorged sexual readiness as well as the kind of courage suggested later in his own This content downloaded from on Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:15:42 UTC All use subject to 16 COLLEGE LITERATURE description of the new Francis: “he’s a ruddy fire eater” (p. 31yf % X W V R P e interpreters, seeking to prove that Margot is the heroine (or that Wilson has been mistakenly admired at her expenseyf K D Y H V H H Q T X L W H R W K H U T X D O L W L H s suggested by Wilson’s red face. Virgil Hutton, for example, argues that Wilson is “a hyprocrite [who] merits his perpetual red badge of shame”; that his red face suggests the red “once used on maps to designate areas of the world under British rule” and the “red face of Moliere’s archetypal, hyprocrite, Tartuffe.” 7 But in the story Wilson’s redness is given a sexual significance by Margot’s repeated, “the beautiful red-faced Mr. Wilson” at the very time that she makes sexual advances toward him?when she kisses him just after Francis had displayed his cowardice and, later, when she is obviously planning to visit his tent that evening. Emphasizing Wilson’s red face in order to underscore his phallic strength and Margot’s willingness to submit to it, Hemingway writes here in a manner familiar to readers of D. H. Lawrence. In one of his own responses to what has been called the Prufrock-Waste Land vision of death and impotence, for example, Lawrence makes one of his women (one who had “felt very remote from this business of male and female, and giving and taking”yf F R Q I U R Q W D Q R O d cathedral which he describes as though it were a giant phallus: “It was built of reddish stone, that had a flush in the night, like dark flesh.” Since this is another story of a woman learning how to submit, she “dimly” realizes in the presence of Lawrence’s obvious symbol that “behind all the ashy pallor … of our civilization, lurks the great blood-creature waiting, implacable and eternal, ready at last to crush our white brittleness and let the shadowy blood move erect once more. ” 8 But the Macomber story’s most blatant sexual pun occurs the morning after Margot sleeps with Wilson. At the breakfast table Wilson asks, in his “throaty voice,” whether Francis had slept well, and Hemingway arranges that as Wilson asks this he is symbolically “filling his pipe.” When the non plussed Francis can only return the question, “Did you?” Wilson’s arro gant reply is, “Topping.” Not even Francis misses this one; he thinks, “you bastard . . . you insolent bastard” (p. 23yf 7 R S S L Q J L V R I F R X U V H I D r more obvious than “gimlet,” but we can note that even in this instance Hemingway’s punning style accomplishes more than just to amuse us at Francis’s expense. “Topping”is perfect because it expresses at once the two aspects of Hemingway’s subject that are emphasized throughout the story?male sexual dominance as it is related to male authority and cour age. Ultimately, Francis’s education will be complete only when he learns the meaning of Hemingway’s violent sexual puns. And we can observe Heming way as he emphasizes the educational process throughout the story, begin ning with Francis’s initial questions, and, for example, his abject confession to Wilson that “there are a lot of things I don’t know” (p. 7yf $ Q L P S R U W D Q t This content downloaded from on Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:15:42 UTC All use subject to MARGOT MACOMBER’S GIMLET 17 lesson occurs when, seeing Wilson threaten the boys with lashes instead of the legal punishment of fines, Francis asks, “Do you still have them whipped?” His response to Wilson’s explanation (“they prefer it to fines”yf is, “How strange!” And the guide’s moral provides Francis with one of the most important bits of wisdom: ” ‘Not strange, really,’ Wilson said. “Which would you rather do? Take a birching or lose your pay?’ . . . ‘We all take a beating every day, you know, one way or another” ‘ (p. 6yf $ J D L Q , some interpreters, seeking to prove that Hemingway discredits Wilson in order to emphasize Margot’s virtue, have argued that Hemingway means to criticize Wilson’s treatment of the boys. The problem with this argument is not only that it contradicts the story’s unity and its aesthetics, but, as Mark Spilka might have complained, that it doesn’t fit with what we know of the author. It is helpful, for example, to recall the way Hemingway treated some of his own less cooperative black helpers (one named Garrick, in par ticularyf L Q * U H H Q + L O O V R I $ I U L F D $ W R Q H S R L Q W K H F R P S O D L Q V , K D G Q o chance to train them; no power to discipline. If there had been no law I would have shot Garrick and they would have all hunted or cleared out.” 9 This is very like the wisdom Nick seems to have gathered in “A Way You’ll Never Be,” when he quotes “that great soldier and gentleman, Sir Henry Wilson: Gentlemen, either you must govern or you must be governed.” 10 And elsewhere in “The Short Happy Life” the guide Wilson understands Francis’s cowardice and Margot’s cruelty in the same terms: “They [American women] govern, of course, and to govern one has to be cruel sometimes,” but the situation disgusts him (p. 10yf . Hemingway’s main point about Francis’s education is that it must come through experience, felt knowledge of the primitive power, violence, suffer ing, and sexuality that prevail in this safari world and, even if less apparent ly, in Francis’s own civilized world. Hemingway dwells on this, emphasizing Francis’s inability to feel: he “did not know how the lion had felt before he started his rush . . . nor what kept him coming” after he had been hit in the mouth by “the unbelievable smash of the .505 with a muzzle velocity of two tons.” n This is in contrast to Wilson, who did know “something about it and only expressed it by saying, ‘Damned fine lion’ “; and we see that Fran cis’s ignorance of primitive violence and suffering is directly related to his ignorance of human affairs, including his relationship with Margot: “but Macomber did not know how Wilson felt about things either. He did not know how his wife felt except that she was through with him.” One of the things he knew was that she would not leave him now. “He knew about that, about motor cycles,” etc., and “about sex in books, many books, too many books.” Both he and Margot know that neither will leave the other, but “if he had been better with women she would probably have started to worry.” Finally, this extended analysis of Francis’s education ends in the narrator’s description of the “sound basis of their union”: “Margot was This content downloaded from on Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:15:42 UTC All use subject to 18 COLLEGE LITERATURE too beautiful for Macomber to divorce her and Macomber had too much money for Margot ever to leave him.” In short, they are locked in a death struggle, and Francis does not yet know about the primitive regenerative power in Hemingway’s male world of blood, violence, and sex. In the very next sentence, however, after detailing what Francis knows and does not know, and after explaining how this is related to the Macom ber marriage, Hemingway lets us see another of the crucial steps in Francis’s educational process?this time as things come together for him in a dream. From a fitful sleep, he “woke suddenly, frightened in a dream of the bloody-headed lion standing over him, and listening while his heart pounded, he realized that his wife was not in the other cot in the tent. He lay awake with that knowledge for two hours” (p. 22yf 7 K L V N Q R Z O H G J H L s obviously important as a part of Francis’s education. He seems, for example, to see more clearly the govern-or-be-governed nature of their relationship, for when Margot returns he says, “You don’t wait long when you have an advantage, do you?” (p. 23yf % X W L W L V P R V W L P S R U W D Q W W R Q R W e that the images in Francis’ dream contain all he must learn about life: “the bloody-headed lion standing over him” is an image not only of primitive suffering, courage, and violence, but also of the red-faced Wilson who is at this moment “standing over” Francis by cuckolding him. Indeed, as there is something courageous and violent about Wilson’s sexual power, there is something sexual (at least in Hemingway’s dreamyf D E R X W W K H E L J J D P H 7 K e most desirable trophies are always the males or bulls, of course, and they are depicted with phallic imagery as expressive as Wilson’s .505; this is true of the lion, for example, with “his barrel of a body bulking smoothly,” and of the three bull buffalo, “huge, black animals looking almost cylindrical in their long heaviness” (pp. 14, 27yf . Francis does complete his education, of course, does somehow find his new life; and Wilson accounts for the change partly by noting that Francis hadn’t had time to be afraid during the buffalo hunt. Wilson also sees that the change?”more than any loss of virginity”?means that Macomber will henceforth have “no bloody fear,” a quality that “women knew”; so in Francis’s case it “probably meant the end of cuckoldry too” (p. 33yf 7 K X V , sensing the change in Francis, Margot is “very afraid of something.” This leaves us with the final ambiguity, whether Margot murdered Francis or not. We are told that she “shot at the buffalo,” but we know also that, especially in this safari world, and frightened as she is, she might well have unconsciously shot at Francis?just as he had earlier run before he realized it. As the long critical debate over this issue might indicate, it is probably an unresolvable ambiguity; but it seems of little consequence. After all, it is the story of Francis’s short happy life; and it is fitting that the Macomber re lationship should end as it has been portrayed all along?as a death struggle that subsides only when one clearly yields, dominates, or dies. This content downloaded from on Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:15:42 UTC All use subject to MARGOT MACOMBER’S GIMLET 19 Now, whether or not we like the taste of Hemingway’s gimlet, the reading I have presented here is, I think, in accord with what we know of his style and vision, in general. That is, the violence, sex, and masculine domination suggested by the gimlet image reflect what Spilka called “the wasteland frontier conflict” of Hemingway’s vision, or what Jackson J. Benson has described as the “emotional-psychological underpinning of Hemingway’s fiction,” a pattern of which includes “(1yf D V V H U W L R Q R I W K H V H O I X V X D O O R f the masculine principle”yf f fear of failure, and (3yf D W W D F N V R Q W K R V e things which threaten the successful assertion of the self.” 12 Benson goes on to explain how this all involves “the dramatization of power, courage, achievement, and virility-life” and how the threats to Hemingway’s “suc cessful assertion of the self” typically originate in “parents and parental figures, certain kinds of women, marriage, Victorian morality, and compet ing writers” (p. 292yf 7 K H W K U H D W H Q L Q J Z R P D Q ” 0 D U J R W ” P X V W E H V X E G X H G , and subdued in a way that involves the sexual violence suggested by the gim let image. Further, we see that violence is necessary not only because of the nature of most sexual relationships, according to Hemingway, but because of the resulting anger to which men like Francis must be roused before they can gain what Hemingway would consider natural male dominance. Ac cording to Wilson’s sense, Francis’s new courage is due only in part to his not having had time to be afraid; it was “that and being angry too” (p. 33yf . My purpose here is not to defend Hemingway’s primitive sexist values, but to show how they are embodied in the story from beginning to end. Like the opening scene of a renaissance drama, Hemingway’s opening portrays a world out of balance; and as the action unfolds, the balance is restored. The initial problem is suggested by Margot’s need for a gimlet, as Hemingway plays upon the word; by the end, despite her having just killed Francis with a “Mannlicher” (Hemingway puns unabashedlyyf + H P L Q J Z D V H W V W K e world right by having Margot assume a properly submissive posture: she yields to Wilson’s angry attack: ” ‘Oh, please stop it,’ she said. ‘Please, please stop it.’ ‘That’s much better,’ Wilson said. “Please is much better. Now I’ll stop.’ ” Hemingway makes things work out; from his point of view the ending is poetically just, or happy, and that is what he seems to have had in mind when he tentatively called the story “The Happy End ing.” 13 “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” is as efficiently de signed as a bullet, and as ugly. As an American short story its efficient form is perhaps ideal; and it is an impressively high calibre denial of the claim, then in the air, that life ends “not with a bang but a whimper.” NOTES 1 “The Necessary Stylist: A New Critical Revision,” Modern Fiction Studies, 6 (Winter 1960-1961yf : D U U H Q % H F N 7 K H 6 K R U W H U + D S S / L I H R I 0 U V . Macomber.” Modern Fiction Studies, 1 (Nov. 1955yf ) R U D G H I H Q V H R f This content downloaded from on Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:15:42 UTC All use subject to 20 COLLEGE LITERATURE Beck and an attack on others like Spilka who see Margot as a “bitch” and Wil son as creditable, see Robert B. Holland, “Macomber and the Critics,” Studies In Short Fiction (Winter 1968yf % H F N D Q G 6 S L O N D U H V X P H G W K H L U G L V S X W e over the Macomber story in 1975-76, Beck maintaining, “I am of the same opinion still,” and Spilka responding, “I must stick to my own unregenerate be lief”: Beck, “The Shorter Happy Life of Mrs. Macomber?1955,1975,” Modern Fiction Studies, 21 (Autumn 1975, 363-385; Spilka, “Warren Beck Re vis ted,” Modern Fiction Studies, 22 (Summer 1976yf . 2 Anne Greco, “Margot Macomber: ‘Bitch Goddess,’ Exonerated,” Fitz gerald/Hemingway Annual 1972, Mathew Bruccoli and C. E. Frazer, Jr., ed., (Washington, D.C.: N.C.R. Microcard Editions, 1973yf S . 3 He listed his favorites in his ‘ ‘Preface, ‘ ‘ to the Fifth Column and the First Forty nine Stories (New York: Scribners, 1938yf . 4 The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (New York: Scribners, 1955yf S ; further references to “The Short Happy Life” are from this text, cited paren thetically by page. 5 “Preface” to The Fifth Column and the First Forty-nine Stories. 6 John M. Howell and Charles A. Lawler, “From Abercrombie and Fitch to The First Forty-nine Stories: The Text of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Francis Macom ber,’ ” Proof{The Yearbook of American Bibliographical and Textual Studiesyf , 11 (1972yf . 7 “The Short Happy Life of Macomber,” The University Review, XXX (June 1964yf 5 S W L Q – D F N V R Q – % H Q V R Q 7 K H 6 K R U W 6 W R U L H V R I ( U Q H V W + H P L Q g way: Critical Essays, (Durham, North Carolina: Duke Univ. Press, 1975yf S S . 239, 250. 8 D. H. Lawrence, “The Border Line,” in The Complete Short Stories (Viking: New York, 1971yf , , , S S . 9 Green Hills of Africa (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953yf S . 10 The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, p. 412. 11 This and the following quotes in this paragraph are taken from an extended passage on Francis’s knowledge on pp. 21-22. 12 Spilka, p. 295; The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: Critical Essays, p. 291. 13 Carlos Baker, Ernest Hemingway. A Life Story (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1969yf S . This content downloaded from on Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:15:42 UTC All use subject to
Research Paper After reading, watching, and studying the Canvas module resources, write at least an 650 word essay supporting the claim, Francis Macomber goes on the hero’s journey.Use in text citatio
The Car as Symbol in Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” Author(s): J. F. Peirce Source: The South Central Bulletin , Winter, 1972 , Vol. 32, No. 4, Studies by Members of SCMLA (Winter, 1972), pp. 230-232 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press on behalf of The South Central Modern Language Association Stable URL: JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at and The Johns Hopkins University Press are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The South Central Bulletin This content downloaded from on Sun, 18 Oct 2020 17:49:38 UTC All use subject to 230 STUDIES BY MEMBERS OF SCMLA WINTER, 1972 THE CAR AS SYMBOL IN HEMINGWAY’S “THE SHORT HAPPY LIFE OF FRANCIS MACOMBER” J. F. PEIRCE Texas A & M University Hemingway’s use of the car as symbol in “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” has largely been over- looked by critics. The reasons are natural. Cars are a com- monplace of our life style, and the car is necessary to Hemingway’s movement of his characters from place to place. As a result, its symbolic use is obscured by its func- tion. Hemingway uses the car as a changing symbol to delin- eate his characters: the protagonist Francis Macomber, his wife Margot, and the white hunter Wilson. It serves, in part, as the motivation for Macomber’s belated initiation into manhood. It illustrates Wilson’s code of conduct. And it underscores Wilson’s belief in the corruptive power of women as shown by Margot. Essentially, this is the story of two similar hunts during two days of hunting in East Africa: one for lion, the other for buffalo. The two hunts are largely parallel. In the first, Macomber wounds a lion, and after a brief wait to let it stiffen, the two men go after it into the high grass. The wait has increased Macomber’s fear that has been building in him since the night before. When the lion charges, Macomber flees in panic. Margot witnesses his cowardice and Wilson’s courage in killing the lion and gives herself to Wilson to punish her husband. During the buffalo hunt that follows, though it appears that Macomber and Wilson have killed three buffalo, one is merely wounded. Again the men wait, but this time Macomber is impatient, having lost his fear and gained his manhood in the excitement of the hunt. When the buffalo charges, after the men go into the bush, Macomber stands his ground and is shot and killed by Margot. Carlos Baker, writing of this story, says: … During the next day’s shooting, we watch the Macombers in their contest for possession of a soul. Hemingway silently points up this contest by the varying positions of the trio … in their boxlike open car. On the way … Macomber sits in front, with Margot and Wilson in the back. After the day’s d~bbacle, Macomber slumps in the back beside his frozen wife, Wilson staring straight ahead in front. When Macomber has proved himself with the … buffalo, it is Margot who retreats to the far corner of the back seat, while the two men happily converse vis- a-vis before her. And finally, as Macomber kneels [It is Wilson, not Macomber, who kneels] in the path of the buffalo, it is his wife from her commanding position in the back seat of the car who closes the contest.1 Baker does not develop this game of musical chairs that the characters play in the “boxlike” car, nor does he show the significance of Margot’s shooting Macomber “from her commanding position in … the car,” or its importance as a symbol in “their contest for the possession of a soul.” Hemingway’s use of the car has been seen but not com- pletely appreciated. The constant reference to the car is, of course, necessary, so that it seems only a part of the back- ground, but if the references are examined closely, one can see their purpose. Symbols and myths associated with cars have become an important part of our culture. Hemingway was no doubt influenced by them in using the car as symbol. In his running description of the car, Hemingway sug- gests that it has no top. It is “doorless and box-bodied.”2 To the lion, seeing it in silhouette, it looks “like some super-rhino” (p. 15yf 0 D F R P E H U Z D Q W V W R V K R R W I U R P L W S S . 14, 28yf E X W : L O V R Q W H O O V K L P W R J H W R X W D Q G K H V W H S V R X t of the curved opening at the side of the front seat, onto the step and down onto the ground” (pp. 14-15yf 7 K H V H D W V D U e low (p. 20yf D Q G L W P X V W K D Y H D W K L U G U R Z R I V H D W V R U D W U X F k bed, for “the gun-bearers brought the [lion] skin over … and climbed in behind.. .” (p. 21yf . Thus, the car roughly resembles a convertible. In 1936, when the story was written, it was every boy’s dream to own a convertible, or “cock wagon,” as it was vulgarly called. To most men, a car symbolizes sex and power. The sticking of the key into the lock, ignition, the rhythmic pumping of the pistons, the surge of power as one “guns” the engine, and its elongated shape – all have sexual con- notations. 1Carlos Baker, “The Two African Stories,” in Hemingway: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Robert P. Weeks (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962yf S . 120. From Hemingway: The Writer as Artist, by Carlos Baker (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1952yf . 2Ernest Hemingway, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” in The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (New York: Scribner’s, 1953yf S 6 X E V H T X H Q t quotations are from these texts and are indicated paren- thetically in the paper. This content downloaded from on Sun, 18 Oct 2020 17:49:38 UTC All use subject to WINTER, 1972 STUDIES BY MEMBERS OF SCMLA 231 But this car is convertible in another sense. It is “door- less” and “box-bodied,” possible references to sexual loose- ness and the vagina and womb, references that are em- phasized by the game of musical chairs the characters play within its body. Cars provide the young with mobility and an arena for the male-female struggle for sexual dominance and initia- tion. And the expression “to take for a ride” with its con- notation of murder was current when the story was written. How much of this Hemingway had in mind when he wrote the story, we can only guess. But the uses of the car are so integral to its structure that their symbolic interpretation can hardly be questioned. Hemingway describes Macomber’s belated initiation into manhood as the result of losing his fear while hunting. Before his transformation, the car represents for him the security of the womb. Sighting the lion while in the car, he asks Wilson the range: “About seventy-five. Get out and take him.” “Why not shoot from where I am?” “You don’t shoot them from cars …. Get out.” (p. 14yf When the lion is wounded, Wilson tells Margot: ” ‘We’re going to have a look. …. You stay here [in the car]. You can see even better from here’ “(p. 16yf . This is Hemingway’s preparation for what is to come. The car becomes an opera box from which Margot wit- nesses Macomber’s cowardice and Wilson’s courage, moti- vating her actions: Macomber’s wife had not looked at him nor he at her and he had sat by her in the back seat with Wilson sitting in the front seat. Once he had reached over and taken his wife’s hand without looking at her and she had removed her hand from his. Looking across the stream to where the gun-bearers were skinning out the lion he could see that she had been able to see the whole thing. While they sat there his wife had reached forward and put her hand on Wilson’s shoulder. He turned and she had leaned for- ward over the low seat and kissed him on the mouth. (p. 20yf Wilson is in the position of dominance, and the low seats present no barriers, physical or sexual, to the trio. Later, Macomber takes stock of his marriage: His wife had been through with him before but it never lasted. He was very wealthy, and … he knew she would not leave him … He knew about that, about motor cycles … about motor cars, about duck hunting, about fishing … about sex in books, many books, too many books, about all court games, about dogs, not much about horses, about hanging on to his money, about most of the other things his world dealt in …. His wife had been a great beauty … but she was not a great enough beauty any more … to be able to leave him and better herself . . . If he had been better with women she would probably have started to worry…. (pp. 21-22yf This evaluation makes clear that he was not good at sex and that his wife was interested, not in him, but in his money. It suggests, too, that for him motorcycles and cars, like books, were sex substitutes. During the buffalo hunt, after he has been cuckolded, Macomber again attempts to shoot from the car: “… he was raising his rifle when Wilson shouted, ‘Not from the car, you fool!’ and he had no fear, only hatred of Wilson” (p. 28yf . The umbilical cord that has bound him to fear and to his wife is severed. During the excitement of the shooting, which for Macomber must be in part a sexual experience, he achieves manhood. Wilson describes it: … He had seen men come of age before and it always moved him … It had taken … a sudden precipitation into action without opportunity for worrying beforehand, to bring this about with Macomber …. Probably meant the end of cuckoldry too. . .. Beggar had probably been afraid all his life…. But over now. Hadn’t had time to be afraid with the buff. That and being angry too. Motor car too. Motor cars made it familiar. Be a damn fire eater now. …. More of a change than any loss of virginity. Fear gone like an operation. Something else grew in its place …. Made him into a man. Women knew it too. (pp. 32-33yf “Motor cars made it familiar” suggests the commonplace quality of cars to our life style and the car as an extension of one’s self and as a symbol both of security and power, helping Macomber achieve his emancipation from Margot and dominance over her. For Wilson, the car is a negative symbol. He does not need it as a hunting stand or an ersatz womb or a cockpit in which to make love. He can stand up to the charge of a wounded lion, and he does not have to hunt for women. Like Margot, they come to him. Wilson is Hemingway’s mouthpiece, his alter ego – the hunter, the dominant male, the man’s man, the symbol of manhood. It is his standards by which the Macombers are measured. Baker says of him: The yardstick figure, Wilson… is the man free of woman and of fear. He is the standard of manhood to- ward which Macomber rises, the cynical referee in the nasty war of man and wife, and the judge who presides. after the murder, over the future fortunes of Margot Macomber. (pp. 120-21yf Of Wilson’s standards, Hemingway says: … He had hunted for.. . the international, fast, sporting set, where the women did not feel they were getting their money’s worth unless they had shared that cot with the white hunter. . . and their standards were his standards as long as they were hiring him. … in all except the shooting. He had his own stan- dards about the killing and they could live up to them or get someone else to hunt them. … (p. 26yf The Macomber of the lion hunt falls short of Wilson’s standards. When Macomber shows his fear, Wilson “felt as This content downloaded from on Sun, 18 Oct 2020 17:49:38 UTC All use subject to 232 STUDIES BY MEMBERS OF SCMLA WINTER, 1972 though he had opened the wrong door in a hotel and seen something shameful” (p. 17yf : K H Q 0 D F R P E H U V X J J H V W s leaving the wounded lion, Wilson says: “It isn’t done” (p. 18yf , Q : L O V R Q V E R R N W K L Q J V D U H H L W K H U G R Q H R U Q R W G R Q H . Mostly they are not done. One doesn’t shoot from cars. No reason is given. It just isn’t done, but it does put the hunter and the hunted on a more equal footing. The hunter risks death, too. Margot doesn’t measure up to Wilson’s standards when she treats Macomber badly because of his cowardice: … 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. (p. 10yf To Margot, the car is a place of segregation as well as an opera box. Each time the men hunt, she is left in its safety – not the safety of the womb, but woman’s place by the fire. It is, also, a place where she dominates Macomber and is dominated by Wilson. And it is a weapon to be used for her own purposes after the men chase the wounded buffalo in it: “… I didn’t know you were allowed to shoot them from cars ….” “No one shot them from cars,” said Wilson coldly. “I mean chase them from cars.” “Wouldn’t ordinarily… Seemed sporting enough… while we were doing it. Taking more chances driving that way… than hunting on foot…. Wouldn’t mention it… though. It’s illegal if that’s what you mean. .. .” “What would happen if they heard about it in Nairobi?” “I’d lose my license… be out of business.” “Really?” “Yes, really.” “Well,” said Macomber, and he smiled for the first time all day. “Now she has something on you.” (pp. 29-30yf After the chase, Margot realizes that she has lost her dominance over Macomber. This is shown by her position in the car as the two men talk about Macomber’s loss of fear: Macomber’s face was shining. “You know something did happen to me,” he said. “I feel absolutely different.” His wife said nothing and eyed him strangely. She was sitting far back in the seat and Macomber was sitting forward talking to Wilson who turned sideways talking over the back of the front seat. (p. 32yf Margot is sitting far back while the men, united by their anticipation of risking their lives, are joined in a masculine marriage that has shut her out. She attempts to regain control over her husband, but fails: “You’ve gotten awfully brave, . . .” [she] said con- temptuously, but her contempt was not secure. She was very afraid of something. Macomber laughed, . . . “You know I have….” “Isn’t it sort of late?. . .” “Not for me….” Margot said nothing but sat back in the corner of the seat. (p. 34yf Hemingway prepares us for the murder that follows. Wilson says: “… We’ll leave the Mannlicher in the car with Memsahib. .” (p. 34yf . And later: … Macomber, looking back, saw his wife with the rifle by her side, looking at him. He waved to her and she did not wave back. (p. 35yf Charged by the buffalo, Macomber stands his ground. There is no question of his courage now: . .. He shot again.. . and saw the horns jolt again and fragments fly, and… aiming carefully, shot again with the buffalo’s huge bulk almost on him..,. and he could see the little wicked eyes and the head started to lower and he felt a sudden white-hot, blinding flash explode inside his head and that was all he ever felt. (pp. 35-36yf Margot has used the car as a hunting stand from which to kill her husband. Wilson recognizes her deed for what it is: “That was a pretty thing to do,” he said. ….”He would have left you too.” “Stop it,” she said. “Of course it’s an accident,” he said. “I know that.” (p. 36yf No doubt this is said sarcastically, for Margot again says: “Stop it” (p. 36yf ) R U G H V S L W H + H P L Q J Z D V V W D W H P H Q W W K D t “Mrs. Macomber, in the car, had shot at the buffalo.. . as it seemed about to gore Macomber and had hit her husband” (p. 36yf : L O V R Q N Q R Z V W K D W L W Z D V P X U G H U D Q G 0 D U J R W G R H s not deny it. Margot has violated Wilson’s code. One does not shoot an animal from a car – even if that animal is one’s husband who is about to leave one. It’s just not done. Her act proves everything he has ever believed about the corruptive power of women, and he must show his contempt for her, bring her to her knees: “‘Why didn’t you poison him? That’s what… [women] do in England’ “(p. 37yf . In the end, Margot pleads: “Oh, please stop it… Please, please stop it.” “That’s better,” Wilson said. “Please is much better. Now I’ll stop” (p. 37yf . And believing I have proved my point that Hemingway uses the car as symbol, I will stop, too. This content downloaded from on Sun, 18 Oct 2020 17:49:38 UTC All use subject to

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