The Killers Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

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What is the resolution in "The Killers" by Ernest Hemingway? 

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"The Killers" seems to have been intentionally left unresolved by the author Ernest Hemingway. Readers are left wondering what will happen to Ole Andreson. It seems likely that he will eventually be killed by gangsters, but Max and Al are "through with it," as Max says to Al just before they leave the diner. If "The Killers" is read as Nick Adams' story, then there is a resolution as far as he is concerned. 

"I'm going to get out of this town," Nick said.

"Yes," said George. "That's a good thing to do."

There are many unanswered questions raised by Hemingway's famous story. One of them is raised by George when they are waiting to see if Ole will show up. George asks Max:

"What you going to do with us afterward?"

"That'll depend," Max said. "That's one of those things you never know at the time."

Yet there is a good indication that Max and Al fully intended to wipe out all witnesses after they shotgunned Ole while he was seated at the counter. George was the only one who could offer any resistance. Nick and Sam were tied up in the kitchen. Max would have had one more shell in his shotgun, and then he could have reloaded to take care of Nick and Sam. But there was no point in killing the witnesses if they hadn't witnessed anything. The indication that Max and Al intended to kill George, Nick and Sam is contained in one bit of Al's dialogue and one observation from Max.

"So long, bright boy," he said to George. "You got a lot of luck."

"That's the truth," Max said. "You ought to play the races, bright boy."

 

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