Robert Wilson (the couples safari guide) and Francis are brought to life through an omniscient point of view while Marmot is only given an objective point of view of narration. Therefore, one can only guess her thoughts and feelings throughout the story by what she says when she is speaking or what others think of her. This two- sided arrangement of how Marmot should be understood is where many begin to take sides as to whether or not she did kill her husband intentionally. Hemingway portrayed Marmot as an attractive, smart, and cruel “five letter word” who represented the essence of all American women.
These characteristics are interpreted through he opinions of Wilson: “They are, he thought, the hardest in the world; the hardest, the cruelest, the most predatory and the most attractive and their men have softened or gone to pieces nervously as they have hardened. Or is it that they pick men they can handle? They can’t know that much at the age they marry, he thought. He was grateful that he had gone through his education on American women before now because this was a very attractive one. Marmot was a woman who clearly wore the pants in her marriage and once that power began to slip away she experienced an motional outburst which led her to frantically shoot at whatever she could hit to win it back. Hemingway has been known to promote masculinity in many of his literary pieces, undermining women and making them seem as though they are meant to be passive as he did to Marmot. Binary structures associate men with activity and women with passivity; physically, Marmot is passive–the men shoot, she sits in the Jeep.
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Not only does the action of the story restrict her physically, it’s clear that her history has done so as well–“she was an extremely handsome and well-kept woman of beauty ND social position which had, five years before, commanded five thousand dollars as the price of endorsing, with photographs, a beauty product which she had never used”. She has been a model, an object to be gazed at, and she has been a wife: “She had been married to Francis Macomb for eleven years,” and she has “done” nothing else.
In fact she does not “do” anything; she Just is. Perhaps the emotions that Marmot felt in the story are repressed so that one would pay closer attention to the actions that demonstrate her emotions, which are easy to overlook. The embarrassment that she felt not only for herself, but also for her husband was illustrated when the characters returned from the “lion incident” and she began to weep as she went to the tent: “l wish it hadn’t happened. Oh, I wish it hadn’t happened,’ she said and started for her tent.
She made no noise of crying but they could see that her shoulders were shaking under the rose-colored, sun-proofed shirt she wore. ” She also recognizes that the animals in the wild are not true adversaries or antagonists, because they are so massively overpowered by the men’s technology; their guns and their cars. The safari as she sees it is a mock, its participant’s– hypocrites. Wilson, who makes his living by manipulating the appearances of mortal danger for the enjoyment of his clients, is anxious to suppress her point of view, and he appears to succeed at the story’s ending.
In the following statement by Wilson, “You know in Africa no woman ever misses her lion”, many critics would argue that a certain element of foreshadowing is involved and that this is indeed what Macomb will symbolically become as he achieves his manhood and his freedom shortly before he falls. On the contrary, it is Marmot who lives vicariously through the lion in the Tory. It is clear that she felt victimized by the end of the story by the two male characters who were liberated by shooting down “a damn fine lion” which contrasts to Wilson referring to Marmot as a “hell of a fine woman”.
Hemmingway elucidates the anxiety and visualization that the lion felt in the story as he realized that Francis was out to shoot him down: “Then watching the object, not afraid, but hesitating before going down the bank to drink with such a thing opposite him, he saw a man figure detach itself from it and he turned his heavy head and swung away toward the cover or the trees as he heard a cracking crash and felt the slam of a . 30-06 220-grain solid bullet that bit his flank and ripped in sudden hot scalding nausea through his stomach. He goes on to point out the similar feelings that Marmot felt when her husband stated Mimi know, I’d like to try another lion; I’m really not afraid of them now. After all, what can they do to you? ” This comment was the moment that Marmot knew that her husband was not afraid to leave her anymore, yet, even he was unaware that his words had made her come to this realization Just as he “had not thought how the lion felt as he got out of the car”. Marmot sees in her husband the process of transformation into a man like Wilson. “You’re both talking rot,” said Marmot. Just because you’ve chased some helpless animals in a motor car you talk like heroes,” she says, including both of them in her assessment. The changes that Marmot saw in her husband combined with her feelings of disdain triggered a cry for release from the belittlement that she had endured throughout the story which was now clearer than ever. She could rid the couple from the safari guide who had antagonized their marriage since they had arrived, rescue her husband from the buffalo and regain her superiority, or release herself from the marriage that had been hopeless for so long.
The emotions of Marmot Macomb escalated until they finally came to a breaking point when Francis and Wilson marched triumphantly towards the bushes to kill another animal. Upon the examination of the events that took place throughout the story it was inevitable that Marmot Macomb would eventually come to a breaking point. Furthermore her ability to shoot or much less shoot accurately was never explored in the story. Therefore, one would not be able to predict that she had the ability to make such an accurate shot on her husband. The action that she chose to take the shot in the first place was a total act of desperation.
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