What point-of-view is the story "The Killers" by Ernest Hemingway told in?
Ernest Hemingway's story "The Killers" is told in the third person but from two characters' points of view. A really valuable book on the subject of points of view is an anthology of short stories arranged by two editors to provide examples of nearly all points of view that can be used in fiction.The editors' names are James Moffett and Kenneth R. McElheny, and the full title of their anthology is Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories. An early edition was published in 1966, but the revised and updated edition published in 1995 is longer and better. It is readily available in paperback, and it is a valuable reference book as well as a good collection of short stories, including such famous ones as "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "A & P" by John Updike, "The Five-Forty Eight" by John Cheever, and "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. The editors have arranged the stories to serve as examples of points of view beginning with the most subjective and going up to the most objective, which they classify as "ANONYMOUS NARRATOR--NO CHARACTER POINT OF VIEW. "The Lottery" is included in this category. The editors have not included Hemingway's "The Killers" in the book, but they would have classified it as an example of what they call "ANONYMOUS NARRATOR--DUAL CHARACTER POINT OF VIEW." The dual characters in "The Killers" are Nick Adams and George. In their introduction to the category of "ANONYMOUS NARRATOR--DUAL CHARACTER POINT OF VIEW,'' the editors write:
The narrators of the next four stories continue to offer the kinds of knowledge that a confidant, eyewitness, or chorus might supply, but they expand the confidant's role by presenting the inner life of two characters. This addition is not a mere matter of numbers; a double character vision signals a particular purpose. In two of these stories, the dual points of view are alternated and given equal time because both characters are protagonists and the play-off between their perspectives is the story.
In "The Killers" we see that the story is told by a third-person anonymous narrator from George's point of view up to the point at which the two hit-men leave the diner. Then the story is told by a third-person anonymous narrator from Nick Adams' point of view until the end. It might be said that the final brief dialogue between George and Nick is told simultaneously from both their points of view.
"I'm going to get out of this town," Nick said.
"Yes," said George. "That's a good thing to do."
"I can't stand to think about him waiting in the room and knowing he's going to get it. It's too damned awful."
"Well," said George, "you better not think about it."