Chapter 1 Summary

Ernest Hemingway is on safari in Africa with his wife, Mary; they are camped in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. The Hemingways have been in the company of a white hunter, Philip Percival, whom Hemingway refers to as “Pop.” Percival is leaving the hunting business in the face of civil unrest and is returning to his family and farm. The Mau Mau, a native group, is rising up against the white settlers and their unfair business practices. Percival advises Hemingway to be a strong leader in his camp among the native Africans. Although Hemingway wishes he had more extensive training from Percival, he bids him good-bye.

In the early morning, Hemingway and Mary go out to the salt flats where the animals come to feed. Mary is in quest of one particular black-maned lion but does not see him. Hemingway and his tracker find their own footprints from the day before. They joke and tease each other about the apparent age and weakness of the people leaving the tracks. Mary goes off a distance from the others, upset with Hemingway’s overprotectiveness. Suddenly a female rhino emerges from the bushes and runs toward the hunters. Grabbing Mary, the native hunters move back to the cars and take off. Back at camp, Hemingway and Mary begin to fight; Mary still feels upset by Hemingway’s hovering over her. Hemingway reflects on the necessity of retaining childlike observation of the world around him as well as a childlike trust.

Although Mary’s main quest is to kill the lion, she also wants to kill a gerenuk, a type of gazelle. The native hunters understand her desire to kill a lion but not her desire to kill a gazelle. At lunch, Mary expresses regret that Percival is no longer with them, though she enjoys being alone with Hemingway. She promises to refrain from getting too angry about Hemingway’s overprotectiveness.

The Game Department Informer suddenly appears, telling Hemingway that a native Maori has murdered his cousin and has...

(The entire section is 549 words.)