Exploring the Dark Side of Human Nature in The Killers

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Exploring the Dark Side of Human Nature in The Killers

Hemingway's "The Killers" illustrates that unexplained violence is an integrated part of society. To acknowledge the cruelties of life is to come to terms with horrifying events that can not be denied. A person may lack the maturity to cope with everyday life if they do not realize that evil can exist in any given society.

The story is told in the objective point-of-view. "Hemingway's approach to his story is different; he approaches it as a journalist approaches a news story, from a focal point somewhere outside of his characters" (Jaffe, 209). The author tells the story only as an observer. He does not tell the reader what the characters are thinking, nor does he give the reader any insight to his personal feelings.

As the story progresses, the reader learns that "The Killers" intend to live up to the label Hemingway appropriately gave them. "The Killers," however, are not the main focus of the story. The title is symbolic only of the evil that the story revolves around, but the main focus of the story is Nick's discovery and disbelief of the true evil that lurks in everyday life. Nick struggles with the knowledge that he can not change Ole's fate as he states, '"Don't you want to go and see the police?...Isn't there something I could do?...Maybe it was just a bluff...Couldn't you get out of town?...Couldn't you fix it in some way?'" (Hemingway, 251). He is not mentally prepared to accept the darker side of human nature.

"It is a story of discovery, in which the anonymity of the observer serves to compel the reader's attention to the bare facts as they add up, one by one, to a pattern of demonstrated yet...

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...rld, they will be over-burdened with the unfairness of everyday life.

Works Cited

Benson, Jackson J. Hemingway...The Writer's Art of Self-Defense. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1969.

Brooks, Cleanth and Robert Penn Warren. Understanding Fiction. 3rd ed. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1979.

Hemingway, Ernest. "The Killers." Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural. New York: The Modern Library, 1972.

Jaffe, Adrian H. and Virgil Scott. Studies in the Short Story. 5th ed. New York: The Dryden Press, 1956.

Moseley, Edwin M. Pseudonyms of Christ in the Modern Novel. New York: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1962.

Walcutt, Charles C. Man's Changing Mask. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1966.

West, Ray B. Jr. The Short Story in America. 2nd ed. New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1968.
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