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The Killers

The Killers

by Ernest Hemingway

The Killers Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Author and critic Robert Penn Warren raised this question: "To whom does ‘The Killers’ belong?" and concluded that the answer was "Nick Adams." Is he right? Who and what is this story really about?
  2. Which character does the reader most identify with?
  3. Do we believe Nick’s claim at the end of the story that he’s going to get out of town? Does this seem like an extreme reaction on his part? Does George’s final comment that he’d "better not think about it" seem likely to change Nick’s resolve to leave?
  4. We don’t ever see Ole’s death. What effect does this have on the story? Do we hold out hope that he might live, or take it for granted that the killers will find and whack him, as they say?
  5. What’s up with the name "Summit"?
  6. Did you notice all the repetition of the same phrases and words in the story’s dialogue? ("I don’t know," "All right," "bright boy," etc.) What purpose does this serve thematically? Structurally? Does it affect the style or tone of the story? How?

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