Life and death, especially death, are not subjects talked about in public. In fact, they are not even thought of in one’s own mind. They are too big of concepts for any person to dare venture in to. “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” by Ernest Hemmingway, “Success is counted sweetest”, “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died“, “Because I could not stop for Death”, and “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant” by Emily Dickinson all address the issues of life and death, and how one reflects upon their life at death.
“Success is counted sweetest” is about the importance of appreciating what you have in life, while you still have it. Most people do not realize their good fortunes until they disappear. Dickinson tried to elaborate the importance of living your life and gaining full possibility while understanding that failure only makes us stronger. If someone is handed all of their triumphs, then they cannot appreciate them because they have not yet felt loss. This poem exemplifies that in life, not everyone wins, but those losses only makes for better people.
This poem relates to “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant” in the sense that they are both about the harsh realities of life. This poem however, explains that people cannot handle the entire truth at one time. Dickinson suggested that it be told gradually, or on a slant. If not, people will turn away from facts in their lives and seek a better “reality” in lie.
“Because I could not stop for death” is about the harsh reality that everyone eventually dies. Even though a person might not want to pass away, or be ready to, Death will still come knocking. Most people do not think about death, as it is a vast and terrifying, but it is still a part of life. Then what people think and how they act upon laying on their death beds is also a peculiar topic. In “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died”, Dickinson hinted as to what Death is to her. The person in the poem is distracted by something tiny and insignificant, a fly. There was no reflection on their life, remorse felt, or hopes unfulfilled realized; just the buzzing fly. Death is just another part of life that should not be feared, but viewed as a new beginning.
All of these poems’ themes are demonstrated in “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”. In the short story the main character, Macomber, does not get along well with his wife Margot. They ignore each other, and put up a front towards others as to not hurt their reputation. When Margot sleeps with the professional hunter, Wilson, all hope for their relationship is gone. Like “Success is counted sweetest”, Macomber did not appreciate her as he should have, and then it was too late. Also in the story, the wife could not handle the truth of her husband’s intended death by Wilson. She knew the truth, but denied it and told Wilson to stop talking, because he was acting as though they had just murdered an animal. Also Macomber was terrified of the lion, but couldn’t even admit this to himself. This is also like the Dickinson poem “Tell the truth but tell it slant” because people really cannot handle the full truth.
The other two poems are about death, which is a constant theme in this story; death of the animals, death of relationships, and eventually death of Macomber himself. Macomber did not think about his own death, because Wilson fed him lines to keep him hunting. Therefore Macomber did not expect Margot to shoot him. In his death, other things were noticed such as the dead buffalo and the chase, much like the fly. Death is a natural part of life, and it was coming for Macomber whether he liked it or not.