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The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber

            Ernest Hemingway uses characterization in The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber to address the theme of gender roles. The Macomber couple disregards the roles they're supposed to play, causing their marriage to be unstable. The struggle for power between the couple and their paths to accepting their roles in society is the driving force in this story, giving Hemingway ample opportunity to critique how gender roles have changed over time. Margot Macomber uses aggression and pride to control her husband, but she is forced to accept her role a woman as the story progresses.
             Margot mainly uses aggressive behavior to control her husband, Francis Macomber, in her relationship. She uses insults, passive-aggressive behaviors, and sex to control Francis and keep him from challenging her behavior. Margot is capable of acting in a way even Robert Wilson would approve of, but she chooses not to as she desires power. We first see this duality in an early scene where Margot leaves to cry after realizing the true extent of her husband's cowardice, but she quickly returns with multiple cutting remarks against Francis. Wilson comments on this, saying, "She was away for twenty minutes and now she's back, simply enameled in that American female cruelty." (Hemingway). This comment and the scene that follows shows why we should find her behavior wrong. Before this point we know that Margot is sarcastic and passive-aggressive, but when she leaves to cry we can justify that aggressive behavior as coming from the shame she feels from Francis' behavior. She shows the "correct" behavior of feeling shame on the behalf of her husband, but we quickly see that that is not who she truly is. She immediately returns to her insults, showing that is a core part of her personality. She uses insults to kill Francis' self-esteem and then gets passive-aggressive to remind him of his place. Unfortunately, Margot cannot even be aggressive correctly.

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