Essay about The Killers by Ernest Hemingway

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The Killers by Ernest Hemingway

"The Killers" by Ernest Hemingway is a story based upon Hemingway's view of the big city in the late 1920's. During the era of prohibition whoever controlled the flow of alcohol controlled the city. Unfortunately, the police were powerless against man thirst for booze. The Mafia also expanded into the bookie field, and if someone didn't pay up or double crossed the Mafia they were taken out. Hemingway was unfamiliar with this city scene and we can see a very strong correlation between him and one of his characters, Nick Adams. Nick was a newcomer to the city, completely unfamiliar with the boldness of disregard for the law that was present. The Theme that I feel Hemingway is trying to convey is how
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The Theme of the story was more or less an actual event that could have taken place in any one of the major cities in the late 1920's. When Mobsters ruled and the police where simply a slight annoyance. The two killers who entered the lunchroom were most likely Mafia hit men. "As they leave, with Al only partially concealing the sawed-off shotgun, they further flaunt their disdain for the law"(Geimer 1260). This "Disdain for the law" points to a more powerful organization than a simple murder. Ole's response also points to a larger, higher power. His response "is much like that of the older waiter: he is resigned not to life but to death. He repeatedly tells Nick Adams that there is nothing for him to do; he turns his face to the wall"(Taube 6). Ole's response also sheds light on the general attitude of the 1920's, which was to just mind your own business and leave everyone else alone. Even the cook, Sam, told Nick "You better not have anything

to do with it at all" (Hemingway, 17). This sets the mobsters influence into perspective, showing us that the general public was under control of an unwritten, silent government. The reader was led to believe that the two killers, Max and Al, were Mafia hit men. While Hemingway never says if they were or weren't, we can see instances where they switched from one to another. After Max and Al enter the diner they look at the menu to try and find something to eat so as not to look
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