The Killers Ernest Hemingway Analysis | Complete and Detailed

Ernest Hemingway does analysis of human psyche through which he manages interest of his readers as he managed it in “The Killers”. He creates suspense and takes it to climax. Till 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, plot structure of novels and short stories of Ernest Hemingway has uncertain and unexpected endings.

The Killers Ernest Hemingway Analysis:

In “The Killers”, Ernest Hemingway creates an 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 typical introduction of characters but ends unexpectedly.

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

Title Analysis of “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway:

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

Themes Analysis in “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway:

Theme of fear is portrayed in the story soon after two unknown killers enter in the lunchroom. They first ask for supper but subsequently forces George, Nick and Sam to stay quiet. One of them, known as AI, takes Sam and Nick in the kitchen and tie 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 of 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 everyday for supper in the lunchroom.

Death as Major Theme of the Story:

The Second most important theme of the story is death. We see the killers want 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 slave to death. He should not fear from it. It is certain and will definitely approaches everyone one day. It waits for everyone. Ernest Hemingway is of the view that a man should live until he dies. If he fears from death then he dies daily. If death creates horror in his heart then he is not living but just counting days of his life.

Hemingway portrays theme of death through Ole Anderson. When the killers leave lunchroom after a long wait, Nick Adams is sent to inform Ole Anderson that two unknown persons are planing his murder. Ole Anderson does not fear from death. It is an unexpected twist in 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 him to call police and inform them about the whole situation but Ole Anderson denies while saying that if death comes let it come. He sleeps without fear and instead of running away from death faces it courageously.

Courage as Another Prominent Theme of The Killers:

One must have 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 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 second type is of George and Nick Adams, who escapes from it. Even when they know that Ole Anderson has accepted death, they fears from death. Nick wants to flee away from town for a while. Sam is already terrified after the whole incident. Hence, there is comparison between two types of people and those who have the courage to face death become heroes at 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:

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

As far as moral analysis of “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway is concerned, apparently there is nothing in the story. Killers come, tie two persons, wait for a Swedish prizefighter, he does not come, 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.

Related Questions:

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

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