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Feline Symbolism in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber and The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway.

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Introduction

Purrfect Strengths and Clawing Weaknesses: Feline Symbolism in "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" Jennifer Cha Biotechnology High School Abstract The purpose of this research paper is to analyze the use of feline symbolism to enhance a character's features in Hemingway's short stories "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." The analysis will cover how felines are used as foils to bring out the strengths and weaknesses of the main characters in both stories. Hemingway uses the symbolic meaning for the lion in "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and the leopard in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" to contrast certain characteristics in the main characters. To support this view, more evidence needed to be found. Analysis of the stories helped find examples of the use of feline symbolism where the lion or the leopard magnified the main characters' strengths and weaknesses. After reading many articles that delved into the significance and symbolization of lions, according to the researchers, regality, strength, and power are traits that lions possess. In "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," Hemingway describes the main character Francis Macomber as a spineless man controlled by his wife, indicating that he had neither power nor strength, unlike the lion in the story. ...read more.

Middle

64). Both felines are used to emphasize the main characters' strengths and weaknesses in Hemingway's short stories. Francis Macomber, from Hemingway's "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," possesses none of the lion's aforementioned traits. He is weak, passive, and non-aggressive. Macomber's wife Margot controls him by putting him down and abusing Macomber with words. Margot tells Macomber that she is embarrassed of him because he acted like a coward. Her face turns red, but not red from drunkenness like the men; it turns red due to embarrassment (Hemingway, 1987, p. 6). Due to his fear, Francis Macomber could not finish killing the lion and ran away "running wildly in panic toward the stream" (Hemingway, 1987, p. 17). His anxiety made him sick and nauseous. Macomber feels inadequate because of his apprehensions and fearfulness. As a result, Margot commits adultery frequently knowing he would never leave her because of his insecurities. Macomber's shy and insecure demeanor is the complete opposite of the strong lion in the story. When Macomber neared it with a gun, the lion stood its ground and was not afraid. ...read more.

Conclusion

Compie, the pilot, flies Harry to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, so Harry could reach the top as he had aspired (Hemingway, 1987, p. 56). Harry surpasses the leopard and dies finally attaining courage and free of his regrets. On the whole, Francis Macomber's cowardliness is amplified by the presence of the powerful lion in the story. Harry's inadequacy towards reaching his goals is amplified by the presence of the aspiring leopard in the story. Macomber lacks power, which the lion symbolizes; Harry lacks courage, which the leopard symbolizes. Nevertheless, at the end of each story, both protagonists gain what they had wanted most. For Macomber, it was the power and strength he never had, especially over his wife. He gains the confidence to be imperious and that leads to his happiness. For Harry, it was the bravery to achieve his ambitions. All his life, he had felt laughable and cowardly, but he starts taking on his objectives and reaches the top of Mount Kilimanjaro as he had aspired. The lion and the leopard are used to enhance specific traits and to reveal how these traits transform in the main characters of Hemingway's short stories "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro. ...read more.

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