The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber and The Capital Of The World A lot of Hemingway’s stories deal with life and death. Death even found it’s way into some of the titles we have read so far. However, in discussing death, we first have to look at life or rather how a life was lived, to truly understand what death meant in the particular instance. Both short stories, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, and The Capital Of The World deal with lives cut short by a chance and accidental encounter with death, while the soon to be deceased seem to gamble and court death. Both also seem to have secondary characters that serve as guides of sorts into this journey. However only one of these characters seems satisfied when cut down, and that is what Hemingway thinks makes all the difference.
For example, in The Capital Of The World, were are introduced to the character of Paco. Early in the story, Hemingway writes, “Madrid is full of boys named Paco”(29). And, as stated in class, Francis, from The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, to bears a rather unusual name. While “Paco” is told to be common, we recognize “Francis” as being an odd name for a man. The names are different, but the effect seems to be the same. Hemingway named his characters to give us a picture of who they are. With “Paco”, we see just another faceless boy, and with Francis we assume a poor example of a “Hemingway man”. Both of these are then set up to be unremarkable characters that may have to prove their worth. And that is what drives each particular story.
Both stories also have characters that drive each respective protagonist into his…
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…;The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber ends with Wilson saying, “ ‘I’m though now”, he said,’I was a little angry. I’d begun to like your husband’”(28). What Hemingway is telling us plainly is that Macomber was able to achieve something. His death, although tragic, is not as tragic as Paco’s. As we have said many times in class, Hemingway knows death does indeed come for everyone. From short stories like The Killers to novels like For Whom The Bell Tolls, death can almost even be described as a reoccurring character in Hemingway’s work. However death impact is weighed by comparing it to life. For Macomber, death came at his highest point. He went down like man. Paco however, lost his life before he could lose his innocence. He was not even given the chance to live. And that is what Hemingway thinks is all the more tragic. To die not like a man, but a boy.
A Comparison of Perfection in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Perfection in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
The heroes of both Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are fighters. However, the traits they have in common are far less numerous than those that set them apart. As each of the two is dubbed perfect by his contemporaries, it should be possible to draw the picture of both the model warrior and the paragon knight by comparing Beowulf and Gawain.
The first question to arise is that of leadership. In Beowulf, the hero is referred to as “prince”*, the “helmet-of-Weders”**, or “master-friend”***. This is not without reason: in the times of the epic, might did literally make right. Therefore, he who was to be an accomplished warrior had to display a leader s qualities as well as combat prowess. As for the knights, they had their appointed ruler, king Arthur, and none thought of challenging him. Neither did any of the knights distinguish himself as a general; all their exploits were done single-handedly.
Now, let us focus on combat. Beowulf fights a great many battles during his life, and while some of these are only briefly mentioned (the famous sea-monsters, for instance), the really titanic ones are described fully and with abundance of detail. The clash between the Geats and Grendel may serve as an example here:
” Now many an earl
of Beowulf brandished blade ancestral,
( ) The outlaw dire
Took mortal hurt “*
And so it continues for fifty-one verses. And this is but one of the heroe s armed encounters! Clearly, one has to fight much to be a great warrior The matter is quite different when it comes to knights. While Gawain’s skill with sword and lance is highly praised throughout the poem, his battles are only hinted at as…
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…e himself notices, “nothing is said of Beowulf’s wife in the poem, but Bugge surmises that Beowulf finally accepted Hygd’s offer of kingdom and hoard, and, as was usual, took her into the bargain”*** – which reflects the lack of concern a true warrior should show when dealing with women.
There is, however, a trait common to the warrior and the knight: the two have a set of rules they should obey. And though the regulations that force Beowulf to come to Hrothgar’s help are not nearly as neatly organised as Gawain’s chivalric code embodied in the “pentangle”****, the idea of being compelled to act in a way dictated by generally accepted rules appears in both poems.
We have thereby drawn the pictures of the ideal men of two different ages, and proved in the process how much the notion of perfection has changed from Beowulf to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.