Hemingway’s Francis Macomber in “God’s Country”


  • Matthew A. Fike Winthrop University




In 1925−26, C. G. Jung’s Bugishu Psychological Expedition journeyed through Kenya, the setting of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Although the two authors went to Africa for vastly different reasons,
Jung’s insights into the personal and collective unconscious, along with the discoveries he made while there, provide a lens through which to complement previous Freudian and Lacanian studies of the story. Francis, a puer aeternus and
introverted thinker, overcomes his initial mother complex by doing shadow work with his hunting guide, Robert Wilson. As the story progresses, Francis makes the unconscious more conscious through dreaming and then connects with the
archaic/primordial man buried deeply below his modern civilized persona. The essay thus resolves two long-standing critical cruxes: the title character makes genuine psychological progress; and his wife, whether she shoots at the buffalo or
at him, targets primordial masculine strength.