Analysis of The Killers

Topics: Ernest Hemingway, Fiction, Meaning of life Pages: 5 (1816 words) Published: March 10, 2013
The Killers
In order for a reader to completely understand the meaning and purpose of a story, she needs to be able to analyze the characters and setting of the story along with the author’s life experiences. Each character and setting benefits a story in some way, whether in a major or minor way. Each character alters a storyline or plot and every setting creates a mood or tone for the story’s events. Without a simple detail of a character or setting, the entire story would be dramatically changed. It is necessary that the reader is able to realize the meaning behind every aspect of a story in order to understand the purpose of the author’s writing. Also, the author of a story is greatly influenced by their life experiences, especially those which are dramatic. For a reader to comprehend a story’s full meaning, she needs to be able to connect parts of a story to aspects of the author’s life. Once a connection is made, the reader may have a dramatically different viewpoint on the events within a story. The Killers, by Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), greatly emphasizes the importance of each of these aspects of a story to the overall meaning and purpose that the author is trying to share. Hemingway’s concise yet essential detail, creates the proper characters and perfect setting for The Killers to have it’s maximum impact on it’s reader. The occurrences within Hemingway’s lifetime also help the reader understand the story in a much more exceptional way. The Killers, a renowned short story by Ernest Hemingway, displays the importance of the tasks a reader has to complete in order to fully grasp what the author is trying to share.

A major step in understanding the overall meaning of a story, is for the reader to be able to analyze the characters and their purpose in the story. Al and Max, the protagonists of The Killers, are two sarcastic and controlling men. Since the reader does not know what had happened prior to Al and Max’s visit to Henry’s lunch-room, they are viewed as the “bad guys” or “villains” of this short story. Nick, the antagonist, is a brave, courageous, and selfless man. When he finds out that Al and Max plan to murder Ole Anderson, he tries to do what he can in order to protect and help him, despite the possible consequences that could occur due to his involvement. For this, Nick is viewed as the “hero” of Hemingway’s short story. The protagonists, Al and Max, are both very believeable but not likeable to the reader. They seem to take control of the entire story as soon as they enter the lunch-room up until the time that they leave. Nick influences the story because his actions show the reader that maybe Ole Anderson deserves his treatment from Al and Max. When Nick visits Ole Anderson to try to save him and Ole Anderson refuses Nick’s help, instead deciding to accept his murder, the entire story changes for the reader. The reader becomes more interested and curious about what happened prior to the beginning of the short story. The reader then begins to question their opinion on each character. The idea that maybe Al and Max are the “good guys” starts to influence the reader’s ideas and this creates more depth to The Killers. The minor characters in this story are Sam, George, and the cook in Henry’s lunch-room. These characters were all on the antagonist side and therefore helped create an even greater amount of depth to the story once the reader began to interpret Al and Max as the possible “good guys”. Every character in a story has an impact on the meaning of the story, and in order for a reader to understand the purpose of a story, it is vital that they analyze each character.

The setting is always important to the meaning of a story because it helps to create a strong mood or tone of the events within the story. The setting also provides a background for each characters’ lifestyle and helps the reader create images of the story in their mind in order to understand the context better. The Killers...
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