Time and physical setting

The short story “The Killers” was published in 1927 and is probably meant to be read as contemporary to the time when it was written. This is suggested, for example, by the fact that Henry’s lunchroom does not serve alcoholic beverages, a reference to the period of Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933), during which alcoholic drinks were banned nationwide.

The events take place in the town of Summit (l. 34), on a Fall (l. 258) evening: “Outside it was getting dark. The street-light came on outside the window” (l. 5.). The town of Summit is most likely located in the state of Illinois, as it is close to Chicago – the city where Ole Andreson presumably comes from (l. 283).

The events unfold in two locations: at Henry’s lunchroom (l. 1) and at Mrs Hirsch’s rooming-house (l. 205). The characters at Henry’s lunchroom occupy the main dining area, where the two men – Al and Max – sit down at the counter to eat (l. 1). Later, they take George, Sam, and Nick Adams hostage while waiting for Ole Andreson, and Al ties up Sam and Nick (l. 133) in the kitchen (l. 93).

The time setting of the story is very specific: Al and Max enter the diner at five o’clock (l. 13) and wait for Ole Andreson until five minutes past seven o’clock (ll. 162-163). Note, however, that it is actually a quarter to seven, as George points out earlier that the clock in the l...

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