In Hemingway's "The Killers," how did the hit men know Ole Andreson was living in Summit? Are there any clues in "The Killers" to help the reader guess how the hit men, Max and Al, knew that their...

In Hemingway's "The Killers," how did the hit men know Ole Andreson was living in Summit?

Are there any clues in "The Killers" to help the reader guess how the hit men, Max and Al, knew that their quarry, Ole Andreson, was living in the town of Summit and also believe that he came to the same diner every night at six o'clock? Presumably Max and Al are only doing the job as a favor for a friend who probably lives in Chicago, and presumably this friend told the hit men where to find Ole--but how did the friend come to this knowledge? Are there any clues in the text of the story?

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Hemingway claimed that he could leave out a lot of details as long as he knew what those details were himself. This is his so-called "iceberg theory," which he originally described in The Green Hills of Africa. "The Killers" raises many questions which are not answered in the story, but presumably Hemingway knew all the answers. Here are a few questions:

How did the hit men know Ole Andreson was living in Summit? Obviously these men, who were only doing the job as a favor to a friend, had been told by the friend that Ole was living there. But that doesn't answer the question. How did the friend know?

Was Ole Andreson the big Swede's real name? If he was on the lam, why didn't he just change his name? Maybe he did, and Ole Andreson was an alias.

That raises another question. Why do Max and Al call each other by their names? Aren't they giving away important clues? Or are these names also aliases which they made up to deceive whoever would be in the diner? Or does the fact that they are...

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