Macomber And Most Dangerous Game Essay
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While one may look at Richard Connells “The Most Dangerous Game” and Ernest Hemmingways “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and pass them off as basically the same, he should be reminded of the clichÐ¹ “dont judge a book by its cover.” Although both are short stories, each work encompasses a number of elements that are characteristically associated with either commercial or literary fiction. By evaluating the authors use of elements of fiction, such as plot, theme, and characterization, and the literary devices diction, figurative language, and detail, one can come to the conclusion that neither story is better than the other.
Because the importance of plot and characterization vary based upon a works classification as either commercial or literary, “The Most Dangerous Game” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” are very different from one another. In his work, Connell uses the element of surprise to keep his readers wondering whats going to happen next. This surprise element, which is created through Reinsfords series of traps, allows the reader to chronologically navigate the story. Additionally, Connell heavily relies upon chance and coincidence than practicality. Examples of this include Reinsfords miraculous weaving stills and his ability to secretly slip into bedrooms. While the plot of “The Most Dangerous Game” is characteristically commercial, the plot of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” is unquestionably literary. This is most evident through the conflicts involving actions, desires, and wills that Hemmingways characters experience. For instance, Macombers conflict involves becoming more courageous and thereby handling his wife, his wifes conflict involves remaining in control of her husband, and Wilsons conflict involves being torn between the two. These conflicts bring about a significance. Additionally, the plot is not chronologically organized; the reader is brought to a scene, then he is taken to the events that lead up to that scene, and finally, he is taken to the events that proceeded that scene. Despite this seemingly convoluted organization, Hemmingways work displays is completely logical and displays artistic unity, everything that exists has a purpose.
Characterization plays an integral role in both literary and commercial fiction. Connell incorporates a variety of characters within his work: Ivan, a flat character, serves as nothing more than a housekeeper and brute that beats unruly visitors, General Zaroff, a stock character, exemplifies the stereotypical characteristics of a hunter, and Reinford, a dynamic character, develops throughout his stay on the island. Through these characters, Connell is able to carry his plot forward; however, Hemmingway, on the other hand, uses characterization to give great depth to the story. His three main characters, Macomber, Margot, and Wilson, display dynamic qualities. This transformation is most dramatic in Macomber.
Within the opening paragraphs of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” Hemingway leads his readers to believe that Francis Macomber is a hero. “[He] had been carried to his tent from the edge of the camp in triumph on the arms and shoulders of the cook, the personal boys, the skinner and the porters.” But as the story progresses, it is clear that Macomber is a coward. This is magnified by his conscience effort to cover his actions up. Toward the end of the story, Macomber experiences an epiphany. “He expected the feelings he had had about the lion to come back but it did not. For the first time in his life he really felt wholly without fear. Instead of fear he had a feeling of definite elation.”
It is clear that characterization plays a more significant role in literary fiction than it does in commercial fiction. In his work, Hemmingway made a consorted effort to plunge the reader through the characters