"The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" by Ernest Hemingway reveal men with private moral codes that differ from society's codes. To what extent are the men admirable or deluded?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Neither Francis nor Wilson come across as very admirable men.  While Wilson's moral code may make him a steadfast fellow in the face of danger and a hunting guide who would never chit chat at the club about his client's cowardice, he is also an opportunistic, judgmental man, one who sleeps with his client's beautiful wife and then acts crabby when breakfast the next day feels awkward. 

Francis Macomber struggles with society's perceptions of what masculinity means and should look like during his African hunting safari.  He feels his wife's comparisons of him to Wilson keenly, particularly after running away from the charging lion during the hunt.  By the end of the short story, Francis feels exhilerated to have acted bravely in shooting the buffalo, focusing solely on "that feeling of happiness about what's going to happen," and his own confusion about courage and bravery versus just acting plain foolhardy leads him into a situation that ultimately costs him his life.  Francis Macomber strikes the reader as a man who is deluded, having no clear or strong idea of what it truly means to be a man. 

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