ASociological Analysis of the Place of Women in TheShort Happy Life of Francis Macomber
Maleprotagonism has been there for centuries, and it is evident indifferent literary works. In his story, The Short Happy Life ofFrancis Macomber, Hemingway demonstrates the position of the femalegender in activities dominated by men. In the story The Short HappyLife of Francis Macomber, Hemingway reveals various roles played bydifferent genders in the tale. The main activities of this maninvolved traveling and hunting on the African soil. During suchtours, he constructs a tent which also accommodates his wife andWilson’s spouse, his friend. The position of the female gender issuppressed both in character and ability because of its perceivedweakness and the stereotypical physical prowess of the dominant malechauvinism in the society.
Womenare despised by their male counterparts in the society. Mrs. Macomberis disgusted on how Wilson and her husband claim that she is sillyand that the act of women becoming upset amounts to nothing. She goesto the point of crying, and no one dares soothe her or apologize forthe remarks. Additionally, they always think ill of the females. WhenMemsahib was coming out of the tent, Wilson was expecting her to bestupid. Hemingway says that “Memsahib had a perfect oval face, soperfect that you expected her to be stupid. But she wasn’t stupid,Wilson thought, no, not stupid” (Fike 3). He has a biasedperception of women.
Additionally,women were also not allowed to accompany their husbands on importantactivities. It is evident when Wilson tells his wife that he and hisfriend Macomber would be having an activity the following morning.Memsahib pleads with her husband to allow her to join him in thejourney but Wilson declines her offer and advises her to stay put.She is commanded to remain behind in the camp despite telling herhusband that she had not gone on the trip just to be dull.
Womenare also are submissive and agree to every decision that the men make(Singh175). Correspondingly, when the two men plan to go out and hunt abuffalo, the women again pleads with them to join. Their requestfalls on deaf ears as Hemingway puts it “Why not order her to stayin the camp?” Wilson said to Macomber. “Let’s not have anyordering, nor,” turning in the direction of Macomber, “anysilliness, Francis,” His wife said pleasantly (Fike 11). No man iswilling to allow his wife to accompany them to their huntingescapade.
Besideshaving their movement restricted, women are also treated in an awfulmanner is how the two men respond to them. Wilson answers his wife inan unappealing manner when she asks whether they were targeting tokill a lion. “Are you going after that lion?” Memsahib asks. “Assoon as you deal with your breakfast,” Wilson responds (Hemmingway5). The statement made by Wilson does not auger well since he shouldhave replied in a respectful manner. The breakfast which she wasabout to prepare was for the whole family and he should have answeredwith dignity.
Inaddition, men are not ready to share ideas with their wives. They donot perceive them as individuals who can help in address anygrievances. For instance, Mrs. Macomber does not get any informationfrom her husband who does not find it necessary to share histhoughts. Furthermore, when Mrs. Macomber moves out of the house andleaves her husband asleep to take a fresh breath she is abused oncoming back. The already awake man asks her where she was and uponexplaining the old man uses abusive language against her. “You area bitch” Macomber tells his wife (Fike 10). His languagedemonstrates the perception that males have towards women.
Nevertheless,it seemed that in this society, women were attracted by the wealth oftheir husbands. The riches made marriages last for long, and on theother hand, husbands were attracted by the physical appearance of thewomen. It was a determining factor whether to leave their wives orkeep them. Hemingway states that “Margot was too beautiful forMacomber to divorce her and Macomber had too much money for Margotever to leave him” (Fike 10).the women are expected to be beautiful to be modest. Anything beyondphysical appearance is not valued.
Inmarriages, women do not have powers and a significant number of themexperience hurtful and unfulfilling relationships (Mohan83). When Margot dares to leave her husband, he fiercely respondsthat she cannot do so. The author describes that she had threatenedher husband on several occasion, but she did not have the guts to airher agitation. The woman submits to the demands of her husband andvows not to leave him. Men, on the other hand, are too authoritativeand have little respect towards the people around them. The two menwho are seen sharing lime drinks on an African tour despise theefforts of the personal servants. Mr. Wilson suggests that one of theboys who was looking curiously at Mr. Macomber should be fined forthe action. It can truly deprive of someone’s morale and efforts tocontinue serving the master if some of the small things like lookingat someone can be penalized. He adds that they should also be whippedfor the small mistakes. However, Mr.Macomber claims that the servantsprefer fines to canning which amounts to financial oppression. Thehabit of these men is not appealing in the society. They areauthoritative, and they do whatever they want and listen to no one.They feel that they are extreme leaders who should not hear anysuggestion from any person whatsoever.
However,women have some important roles to play in the society. They haveorganized for the trip and also provide food to every member of thetrip and ensure that their wives are well maintained. The authordescribes how these women look attractive which is attributed to theefforts of their husbands. Hemingway says that Mrs. Macomber is “anextremely handsome and well-kept woman of the beauty and socialposition which had, five years before, commanded five thousanddollars as the price of endorsing, with photographs, a beauty productwhich she had never used” (Fike 1). Their husbands’ social isdetermined by the outfits and make-ups that they wear.
Conclusively,theposition of the women is stifled both in character and abilitybecause of its perceived feebleness and the stereotypical physicalcompetence of the dominant male chauvinism in the society. Women inthis society do not have equal powers as their male counterparts andare treated with minimal dignity. They do not have a position indecision making. Moreover, they are not allowed to join theirhusbands on important occasions like hunting even after pleading withthem. The men are authoritative and always compel their wives in thepositions that they want. They do not accord them their privileges,and they only want to be served by them. They use all sorts ofabusive words and do not care whether they are hurt.
Devi,Sunita. "Hemingways Africa A Cultural Study." (2013).Print.
Fike,Matthew A. "Hemingway’s Francis Macomber in “God’sCountry”." Journalof Jungian Scholarly Studies9.5 (2014). Print.
Hemingway,Ernest, and Detlev Gohrbandt. Textand Study Aids.Stuttgart: Klett, 1984. Print.
Mohan,B. "Hemingway’s Female Characters-A Glance." AsianJournal of Multidimensional Research2.7 (2013). Print.
Singh,Virender. "Treatment of Gender And Race In Hemingways Novels."(2013). Print.