"The Killers" by Ernest Hamingway Short Questions

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"The Killers" by Ernest Hamingway Short Questions

Post by Archer on Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:56 am

Short Study questions which will help you in the better understanding of the story.

1. Why does one of the killers order dinner, although George told them that they cannot get it until six o`clock?

Getting something to eat is not what they are there for. They are concerned about the murdering Ole. I believe they do not really listen. This passage is hilarious. A running gag begins about not knowing what they want to eat. It is merely absurd at this point. Hemingway put this part in his story because he loved vaudeville. This first passage is what the vaudeville historians call "the two men act".

2. What does Max mean by calling Summit a "hot town"?He wants to say that Summit is a dangerous town, where a lot of criminal action is going on.

3. Al and Max call George a "pretty bright boy". How do they mean it?
Of course they mean the exact opposite. They are criminals, but also satirists and most parts of their dialogue are ironic . Almost everything they say is not meant the way they said it.

4. George appears pretty composed throughout the whole siege. Is he afraid at all?
Actually not. He even asks what Max and Al will do with them afterwards, which shows that he is able to stand the situation.

5. Why did Hemingway put Sam in the play?
Sam seems to be the stereo-type in this play. He is afraid and shows his fear and just wants to stay out of the whole thing. Nevertheless, I believe Sam is ahead of the others, since it is a wise decision to stay out of trouble!

6. Ole`s reaction to Nick`s message seems untypical. Guess why he reacts that way!
Obviously Ole has already resigned to his fate. He is tired of running away.

7. In the end Nick wants to leave the town. Do you think he is afraid of getting killed?

He is maybe not so much afraid of getting killed, but he seems to be a peaceful human being and he cannot stand his dangerous and criminal environment any longer.

This short story contains two different parts. The first one is the hilarious vaudeville part that ends when Al starts to tie Sam and Nick up and the whole story gets serious. The second part is really a contrast to the vaudeville part. It is about fear, which is not funny at all.

Usually Hemingway prefers direct speech which can be seen in this story as well. The dialogues are short and he uses simple language.
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