The Killers Ernest Hemingway Analysis | Complete and Detailed

The Killers Ernest Hemingway Analysis

Ernest Hemingway does the analysis of the human psyche through which he manages the interest of his readers as he managed it in “The Killers”. He creates suspense and takes it to climax. Till the end of the story, readers have no clue what is going to happen. Somewhere readers may guess an upcoming event but surprisingly something opposite happens. Hence, the plot structure of the novels and short stories of Ernest Hemingway has uncertain and unexpected endings.

The Killers Ernest Hemingway Analysis | Complete and Detailed

The Killers Ernest Hemingway Analysis:

In “The Killers”, Ernest Hemingway creates insecurity through analysis of fear. Every moment of the story is full of suspense. Fear and horror are two dominant themes of this story. It starts with a typical introduction of characters but ends unexpectedly.

Read the summary of “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway instead of its analysis.

Title Analysis of “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway:

The title of the story is based on two characters AI and Max. Both these characters come into the town to kill Ole Anderson, who is a Swedish prizefighter. They are symbols of death and fear. Although they do nothing in the whole story yet they spread fear in the lunchroom. The same fear that everyone would feel before death.

Themes Analysis in “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway:

The theme of fear is portrayed in the story soon after two unknown killers enter in the lunchroom. They first ask for supper but subsequently force George, Nick and Sam to stay quiet. One of them, known as AI, takes Sam and Nick to the kitchen and ties them. The writer through these two killers creates a mysterious atmosphere. Readers become fearful when they realize the whole situation. There is a deep depiction of horror in this story.

This uncertain atmosphere remains unchanged until Max reveals his real purpose for coming to this town. He very frankly tells George that they are going to kill Ole Anderson. At that moment readers see development in the plot. Before that readers were unaware of the fact that they came to kill Ole Anderson. they imagine that their purpose is to commit robbery or something else. However, it becomes clear that they are here to kill someone, who came every day for supper in the lunchroom.

Death as a Major Theme of the Story:

The Second most important theme of the story is death. We see the killers want the death of Ole Anderson at any cost but luckily he does not come that day. It does not save him from death permanently; instead, it postpones Ole Anderson’s death for the time being. Ernest Hemingway prefers death over slavery. Slavery in the sense that one should not become a slave to death. He should not fear it. It is certain and will definitely approach everyone one day. It waits for everyone. Ernest Hemingway is of the view that a man should live until he dies. If he fears death then he dies daily. If death creates horror in his heart then he is not living but just counting the days of his life.

Hemingway portrays the theme of death through Ole Anderson. When the killers leave the lunchroom after a long wait, Nick Adams is sent to inform Ole Anderson that two unknown persons are planning his murder. Ole Anderson does not fear death. It is an unexpected twist in the plot of the story. Readers guess that Ole Anderson would do something to save himself; maybe he would run away from town or inform the police but he does the opposite. In fact, Nick suggests calling the police and informing them about the whole situation but Ole Anderson denies it while saying that if death comes let it come. He sleeps without fear and instead of running away from death faces it courageously.

Courage is Another Prominent Theme of The Killers:

One must have the courage to face every problem. At least he should face death because no one can escape from it. Ernest Hemingway gives hefty importance to courage. He lived his life with courage. He had the courage to end his life. Ultimately, he accepted death instead of living a paralyzed life. In his story “The Killers”, after doing an analysis of courage, fear and death Ernest Hemingway forces his readers to handle difficult circumstances with courage. Hence, “Live courageously and die honourably” becomes another major theme of “The Killers”.

There are two types of characters in the story. One type is of Ole Anderson, who accepts death and the second type is of George and Nick Adams, who escape from it. Even when they know that Ole Anderson has accepted death, they fear death. Nick wants to flee away from town for a while. Sam is already terrified after the whole incident. Hence, there is a comparison between two types of people; those who have the courage to face death become heroes in the end. Ernest Hemingway once wrote:

Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind.

Ernest Hemingway

Plot and Technique Analysis of “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway:

The complete story is written in form of dialogue. Hardly, find any opinion of the narrator in the whole story. He puts the situation in front of his readers like a dramatist. Most of the relevant things are hidden in the dialogue of the story. However, some dialogues are ambiguous. Readers have to go back in order to understand them. The end of the story is entirely unexpected. Ole Anderson becomes a moralistic hero of the story.

As far as the moral analysis of “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway is concerned, apparently, there is nothing in the story. Killers come, tie two persons, and wait for a Swedish prizefighter, he does not come, so they leave. The story ends where it starts but symbolically and deep down it has certain meanings. A moral is there for everyone in the story due to which there is no denying the fact that mostly Ernest Hemingway’s heroes win morally and not physically.

  • Write a detailed analysis of “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway.
  • In which way did Ernest Hemingway portray themes in “The Killers”?