Tuesday, October 25, 2011


     In this short story, I was very confused for the first half.  I think I have a general idea now however about what Hemingway was trying to say.  Characteristically with Realistic writing, the people in the story share no real connections with anyone else.  This is evident through the Macomber's marriage and how they are simply together because they are beautiful and rich.  There is no love in their relationship only security.  Wilson also is alienated from society which can be seen through the fact that he has many affairs during his safari's but none of them really mean anything.  Wilson doesn't even desire any real relationships  with women-he simply wants the physical aspect for short periods of time.
     Similar to "A Good Man is Hard to Find," there is a realization at the end where the main character has a realization of themselves and the world around them if only for a brief instant.  When Mr. Macomber finally conquers his fears and shoots the bulls basically by himself, he discovers what it feels like to be free from fear and insecurity.  It is very important to point out though that Mrs. Macomber thinks this realization has come too late.  Mr. Macomber doesn't think so, but through the ending it is obvious that his realization did in fact come too late.  I think Mrs. Macomber sees this realization taking place in her husband and it frightens her because she sees her entire reality begin to crumble with his realization.  I think that is why she shoots her husband-in order to save herself and keep living the life she has always known.  I think Hemingway is making the observation that many American "men" stay boys for the greater half of their lifetime through his development of Mr. Macomber.  Wilson makes this especially evident when he talks about the idea of "American boy-men" towards the end.  I think Hemingway is also showing that it is not socially acceptable to grow up and be your own person through Wilson telling Mr. Macomber, "You're not supposed to mention it... Much more fashionable to say you're scared."
    One question I have-What exactly do the game in this story represent?  Do they represent women?  (Hemingway made some connections between how animals hunt prey and women do as well.)  Or do they represent the fears that Mr. Macomber eventually conquers?  Or do they represent society as a whole?  Did Mr. Macomber in a sense conquer society?


  1. I compared this to " a good man is hard to find" as well. It was a great story to read. I was confused about what the game represents as well.

  2. A couple of comments that I wanted to make after our discussion in class today- When reading this story, we must look at marriage from a different viewpoint than we do today. Today, we like to believe we get married for love and for fulfillment which we often do and often don't. When this story was written however, people rarely got married for love and instead got married for money and security. They did not really have much say in the choosing of their mate. This explains why the Macombers are still together even though they don't love each other. This financial based marriage can also be seen in "The Wasteland" that we read earlier in the semester.
    Another similarity that we discussed between "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and this story is the idea of The Dark Night of the Soul. What happens to a person when they change their role? What happens when they change their reality? According to these two stories that we've read, one would argue that when you change the widely accepted norm you die. I think both writers are trying to make the point that once you go against the grain so to speak, you are doing a very dangerous thing that the majority of society will not understand.
    I think it is also important to note how selfish and uncaring the characters in this story are. All three people we read about are after their own personal benefits in this story: Mrs. Macomber gets the sex she's always wanted, Mr. Macomber gets to hunt and feel like a man, and Wilson gets paid. Everyone wins it would seem. This structure of the Safari further supports the Realism view that there is no true, lasting connection between individuals and that everyone is alienated from each other.

  3. I also found this story, at times to be confusing to grasp. It took several rereadings for me to be able to understand what exactly was going on.