The Killers Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

The Killers book cover
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Is "The Killers" modernist literature?

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"The Killers" is a modernist text because of its strong ambiguity. Modernist works often emphasize the lack of definitive answers in life, rejecting absolute truths or the idea that we can ever know the full picture. In "The Killers," the hit-men never know what Ole Anderson did to warrant being killed, nor do they ever discover why he does not fight to survive. This ambiguity forces the reader to rely more on the limited information provided by the sparse prose and direct dialogue.

A more traditional work might have explored the Swede's past more. Therefore, the readers never get a clean, easy answer to the questions posed by the story or by the titular killers themselves—unlike later movie adaptations, which chose to expand upon this unstated backstory.

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