The Killers Essay Research Paper

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The Killers Essay, Research Paper “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway is a story based upon Hemingway’s view of the big city in the late 1920’s. During the era of prohibition whoever controlled the flow of alcohol controlled the city. Unfortunately, the police were powerless against man thirst for booze. The Mafia also expanded into the bookie field, and if someone didn’t pay up or double crossed the Mafia they were taken out. Hemingway was unfamiliar with this city scene and we can see a very strong correlation between him and one of his characters, Nick Adams. Nick was a newcomer to the city, completely unfamiliar with the boldness of disregard for the law that was present. The Theme that I feel Hemingway is trying to convey is how much corruption and disregard for

the law there was in the late 1920’s. The plot of this story primarily consists of an attempted murder that takes place in a lunchroom diner. The diner itself plays an important role in the setting of the story. It gives us insight into the lives of two of the customers, Nick Adams and Ole Anderson. When we ask ourselves what type of a person would have gone to a diner in the late 1920’s, it reminds us of the common, single, working man. This is also the type of person who would be more susceptible to making a bet with a bookie, throwing a fight for a bet, or even making some other sort of deal with the Mafia. The town in which the diner is located in also plays an important task in giving the killers an underlying importance. This underlying importance displays an early

dominance from these two characters. “The backdrop to the action in the ‘The Killers’ is a static, conventional town that, like the universe in which the killers operate, is colorless and passive”(Taube 5). The lack of any other people, places or things being singled out shows the reader that the story will be centered in the diner. The Theme of the story was more or less an actual event that could have taken place in any one of the major cities in the late 1920’s. When Mobsters ruled and the police where simply a slight annoyance. The two killers who entered the lunchroom were most likely Mafia hit men. “As they leave, with Al only partially concealing the sawed-off shotgun, they further flaunt their disdain for the law”(Geimer 1260). This “Disdain for the law”

points to a more powerful organization than a simple murder. Ole’s response also points to a larger, higher power. His response “is much like that of the older waiter: he is resigned not to life but to death. He repeatedly tells Nick Adams that there is nothing for him to do; he turns his face to the wall”(Taube 6). Ole’s response also sheds light on the general attitude of the 1920’s, which was to just mind your own business and leave everyone else alone. Even the cook, Sam, told Nick “You better not have anything to do with it at all” (Hemingway, 17). This sets the mobsters influence into perspective, showing us that the general public was under control of an unwritten, silent government. The reader was led to believe that the two killers, Max and Al, were Mafia

hit men. While Hemingway never says if they were or weren’t, we can see instances where they switched from one to another. After Max and Al enter the diner they look at the menu to try and find something to eat so as not to look suspicious. When one of them tries to order from the dinner menu the waiter George states, “‘That’s the dinner, you can get that at six o’clock’”(Hemingway 12). The two men are left with no choice but to take a short order, so Al orders ham and eggs and Max orders bacon and eggs. When George returns with their food he can’t remember which person ordered which meal, so he asks Al “‘Which is yours’”? Al replies “‘Don’t you remember?, Ham and eggs.’”(Hemingway 13) After Al says this Max takes the platter closest to him which