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In "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and "Hills Like White...

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falusiea78 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 30, 2008 at 5:00 PM via web

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In "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and "Hills Like White Elephants", how is "grace under pressure" shown?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 31, 2008 at 1:09 AM (Answer #1)

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Tthe Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber" is the best illustration of "grace under pressure." At the beginning of the story Macomber is somewhat of a whimp. He freezes when confronted with a lion and his guide, Robert Wilson, must step in to kill the lion. Then Macomber's wife moves to Wilson's tent and MacComber does nothing. When he finally is able to confront a buffalo and kills it. Thus, he has just experienced his "short, happy life" when he exhibited grace under pressure and shot the charging buffalo. His wife, realizing her husband had found his courage, calmly raises her gun and kills her husband. This is also "grace under pressure" but a rather diabolical version of it.

In "Hills Like White Elephants" two Americans face an unwanted pregnancy. On the surface, it may seem like the two are facing the problem with grace but a closer reading of the story reveals that the man does not want the child so he can continue a carefree lifestyle, while Jig, his partner wants to have the child. She is the one who really shows grace under pressure because she realizes that no matter what decision she makes, her relationship will never again be the same.

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