Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hemingway's "The great American boy-men"

One of my favorite Ernest Hemingway short stories is "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." You can read it on-line here.

It's about a husband and wife, Francis and Margaret Macomber, on an African safari led by a rugged, seasoned guide named Robert Wilson.

It's a story about a "boy-man," Francis, becoming a man (in the Hemingway definition of man) after a terribly failed attempt to shoot a lion. The change in Francis echoes the John Eldredge genre of masculinity minus Hemingway's spiritually empty worldview.

To whet your appetite, I'll quote Robert Wilson's thoughts as he views the dramatic and quick transformation in Francis after a successful shooting of water buffalo. Wilson thinks...

"It had taken a strange chance of hunting, a sudden precipitation into action without opportunity for worrying beforehand, to bring this about with Macomber, but regardless of how it had happened it had most certainly happened. Look at the beggar now, Wilson thought. It’s that some of them stay little boys so long, Wilson thought. Sometimes all their lives. Their figures stay boyish when they’re fifty. The great American boy-men. ... Be a damn fire eater now. He’d seen it in the war work the same way. ... Fear gone like an operation. Something else grew in its place. Main thing a man had. Made him into a man. Women knew it too. No bloody fear" (emphasis added).

Take a break when you can and read the short story (click here). Then leave a comment or two.


At 8/09/2006 7:05 AM, Blogger Dr. D said...

Hi John: Hemingway did have a way of making a person get into the story, didn't he? About half way through "My Old Man" the tears came, no idea why, isn't that odd? But Hemingway, misreable, wretched soul that he was, atheist, or so he said; nevertheless, does get a person rolling. Thanks for the link.
Bro. Dana

At 8/09/2006 9:54 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Hemingway as a writer fascinates me. I appreciate your comments.

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At 11/12/2013 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hemingway, sexist pig lol
oh well, he was a product of his time.

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