Narrator and point of view

The short story “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway is constructed mostly through dialogue, which is mixed with short fragments of narration by a third-person narrator with a limited point of view.

The narrator’s limited point of view is suggested by the fact that he only describes the characters’ actions but does not seem to have access to what they are thinking or feeling. For example, readers do not learn anything about Al and Max from the narrator, except for their appearance: “He wore a derby hat and a black overcoat buttoned across the chest. His face was small and white and he had tight lips. He wore a silk muffler and gloves” (ll. 23-25). Max later reveals their purpose himself: “ ‘I’ll tell you,’ Max said. ‘We’re going to kill a Swede. Do you know a big Swede named Ole Andreson?’ ” (ll. 114-115)

In a similar manner, the narrator never gives more details about the lives of George, Sam, Nick Adams, or Ole Andreson, except for what emerges in the dialogue or is implied by the story. For example, as George is behind the counter, this implies that h...

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