Monday, October 25, 2010

Recognizing the Inevitable

The short story, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”, and the poems“Because I could not stop for Death”, and “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died” all share a common idea of death and the acceptance of death. The short story by Ernest Hemmingway displays the idea of accepting death with the actions of the main character, Francis Macomber. Emily Dickinson’s poems also share a similar outlook on death. Hemmingway’s story and Dickinson’s poems both express the idea of the acceptance of death.

In the short story by Hemmingway, the character of Francis Macomber changes. He hunts wild animals with a man named Robert Wilson. Francis and his wife Margaret have an interesting relationship in that he won’t leave her because of her beauty and she won’t leave him because of his wealth. The two do not belong with each other at all and Margaret even sleeps with Robert Wilson one night after the hunting of the lion. Francis begins to experience a change within himself after he successfully kills the lion. He is even looking forward to the next hunting of the buffalo and says that he would take on another lion if given the chance. It is almost as if Francis no longer fears the possibility that one small mistake could result in his death. He is now accepting of death and is ready to take on any challenge ahead of him with great confidence. When he takes on the buffalo with Robert Wilson his wife takes a shot which hits him and kills him leaving the reader to wonder if it was an accident or intentional. Hemmingway’s short story shows the idea of not fearing death but accepting it.

Emily Dickinson’s two poems also share the common theme of death. “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died” portrays a person who is about to die when they hear the sound of a fly buzzing. The person’s loved ones and the “King” which represents God are in the room, but the fly is the last thing the person hears and sees before their death. We know that the person has accepted their death because of line 9 “I willed my Keepsakes-Signed away”. This is basically saying that the person is ready to accept the oncoming death. This relates to Hemmingway’s short story because Francis was also ready for any kind of death that may have been pursuing him.

“Because I could not stop for Death” is another poem that portrays the idea of the acceptance of death. Death is represented by a person driving a carriage containing the speaker and the carriage drives through the memories of the speaker. With the use of the word “kindly” to describe the way in which death stopped for the person we know that death is something the speaker views as inevitable. “We passed the School, where Children strove” represents the childhood memories of the speaker enhanced by the capitalization of school and children. The speaker in the poem has accepted death and is just reflecting on some memories as the carriage passes through them.

Hemmingway’s short story, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and Emily Dickinson’s poems, “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died” and “Because I could not stop for Death” all express a common belief in death being inevitable. The character of Francis in the short story experiences a change and feels as if he can conquer any task without worrying about the possibility of death. Dickinson’s poems also show a lack of concern for death as the speakers in the poems have accepted it. Both the short story and the poems express the idea that death is inevitable and something all people have to accept.

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