The Killers
The Killers
by Ernest Hemingway
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The Killers Theme of Criminality

The criminality we see in "The Killers" is that of the 1920s Chicago mafia. The two characters in question – the killers themselves – are attributed every mob cliché known to man: big black overcoats, "tight lips," gloves, and major attitudes. At the same time, they manage to operate with Vaudevillian undertones: the two-man-act, constant bickering, sarcastic exchanges. It is this odd duality that renders "The Killers" and its portrayal of criminality a strange mix of fantastic and the real, a snapshot of a feasible-if-atypical scenario injected with a healthy dose of theatrical drama.

Questions About Criminality

  1. Do the killers portray typical notions of organized crime, or do they satirically mock them?
  2. How can the killers possibly be criminals and comedians at the same time? Isn’t this a contradiction in terms? (Have you seen Pulp Fiction?)

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

"The Killers" is an exploration of what happens when movie clichés meet reality. It concludes that these two worlds are incompatible.

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