The Killers Essay

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In the following essay, Berman explores the role vaudeville plays in the action and phiosophy of "The Killers."

Kenneth S. Lynn's biography of Hemingway states that

behind "The Killers" lay some obvious influences: Hemingway's firsthand acquaintance with petty criminals in Kansas City, his close observation of the men entering the back room in the Venice Cafe, and the steady attention he paid in the 20s to journalistic accounts, in European as well as in American newspapers, of the blood-drenched careers of Chicago hoodlums.

Behind the story also is Hemingway's acquaintance by 1926 with vaudeville and with the idea of vaudeville. The connection has long been noted: in 1959, Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren mentioned the "vaudeville team" of Max and Al, and the "gag" and "dialogue" that remind the reader of their "unreal and theatrical quality." The essay is, however, only the briefest of sketches on the subject.

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This section contains 5,594 words
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Buy The Killers Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Killers from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.