Ernest Hemingway’s “The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber” should be interpreted in light of his earlier commentary on Spanish bullfighting in Death in the Afternoon. The key insights regarding both the faena (when the bull passes by the matador) and the moment of truth (when the matador kills the bull) help to illuminate the final hunting sequence of Hemingway’s story. In this final sequence, Macomber transforms into a matador figure who exercises the bullfighting techniques described by Hemingway. Reading these works together reveals Hemingway’s belief in human exceptionalism, the pseudo-religious belief that human beings are inherently superior to animals.

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