Ernest Hemingway’s “The Killers” (1926) plot




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Ernest Hemingway’s “The Killers”

(1926)
PLOT:



  • small-town diner

    • Henry’s

    • made over from a saloon (long mirror behind bar/lunch counter)

  • George = owner

  • Nick Adams = local, witness

  • Sam, the cook (black, N-word)

  • 2 well-dressed men enter (“killers”)

    • Al

    • Max (“talks too much”)

    • dressed alike (like uniforms, like Reservoir Dogs)

    • derby

    • tight overcoat, buttoned across the chest

    • silk muffler

    • gloves

  • mild comedy –

    • want dinner, BUT dinner’s not until 6PM

    • clock reads 5:20 BUT 20 minutes fast

  • eat sandwiches….

    • with gloves on (no fingerprints!)

  • Ole Anderson

    • local, regular

      • 6 PM

      • (killers have done their homework)

    • to-be victim

      • “We’re killing him for a friend.” (mystery)

    • Swede

    • former boxer

    • described as kind-hearted

    • face of boxer

    • waits to die

  • sawed-off shotgun

  • Nick & Sam = tied to backs in kitchen while they await Ole

    • until 7PM

  • Nick goes to warn Ole

    • lying on bed

    • in his clothes

    • waits to die

    • doesn’t show emotion

      • “flat voice”

      • “There isn’t anything I can do about it.”

    • stoic in the face of death

    • deserved killing?

    • just desserts?

  • Nick back to Henry’s

    • explains Ole’s indifference

    • guesses @ cause of “hit”

      • “he must have got mixed up with something in Chicago” (fixed fights)

      • “Double-crossed somebody” (see Pulp Fiction)

    • Ole’s indifference bothers Nick

      • Nick = macho

        • Hemingway way: would want to fight it out, go down swinging

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STYLE:

  • mystery

  • comedy

  • macho talk

  • Pulp Fiction

    • comedy

    • mystery (some unresolved)

    • dialogue

    • clothing

    • machismo

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THEMES:

  • Ole, stoic in the threat of death

    • not afraid to die, of Death

    • machismo

  • Zen-like attitude??

    • acceptance

    • indifference

    • complacency

    • surrender

    • echoed by George: if it bothers you, then “you better not think about it” (last words)

  • against Ole’s attitude

    • like Nick = macho

    • Hemingway way:

      • would want to fight it out

      • go out in a blaze of glory

      • go down swinging




  • Waiting motif:

  • http://www.novelguide.com/a/discover/ssfs_17/ssfs_17_00021.html

  • The Matadors”

    • the original title

    • the Swede = the bull, but doesn't act like the bull, suicidal bull? taken little by little

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MOVIE:


  • Edmond O’Brien, Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster (1st movie)

  • film noir

  • “based” on the short story




More < http://thelongvoyagehome.blogspot.com/2009/09/killers.html >


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