Mr Legowski’s Yr 11 Lit/Lang home learning – due Friday 26 April

Your home learning task is to answer the following questions about Hemingway’s The Killers. Write one developed PEE paragraph with at least three examples (references to the text) for each question; put your answers in the comments box below.

1. What function does the narrative description (the parts that aren’t dialogue) play?
2. How does the dialogue move the narrative (the story) forward?
3. What do we learn about the characters through the dialogue (i.e. the things they say or are said about them)?
4. How does the vocabulary set the time and place of the story?
5. Where are the turning points and mood changes in the story? How are they achieved?
6. How does the ending link back to the beginning? Are there any similarities? If they’re all back at the starting point, does that mean that everything is as it was before?

The deadline for this task is tomorrow – Friday 26 April.


11 thoughts on “Mr Legowski’s Yr 11 Lit/Lang home learning – due Friday 26 April

  1. Alicia

    1) The function of the narrative is to produce imagery for the reader to give them ideas on what the setting may look like. This imagery then lets the reader make up their own mind on the atmosphere and the mood throughout the story and helps them to decide on what the story is about and where it was set. For example in the story it says “Nick walked up the street beside the car-tracks…” this suggests that their are a lot of fast cars going up the street implying that this is an area where the boy racers like to meet and cause trouble. However it could also imply that this is an area that is not usually watched by traffic wardens or police officers so could be where a lot of trouble takes place.

    2) The dialogue moves the story along very quickly as there is a lot of dialogue, one after the other like a type of call and response. This moves it quickly as there is never a break between most of the dialogue. For example, in the story it says ” ‘Tell him to come in,’ ‘What’s the idea?’ ‘Tell him to come in,’…” this is quick call and response between two people, implying that the two people want to get the conversation over with quickly as they may fear someone will hear them, further implying that they are discussing something that shouldn’t be heard by anyone else as they may get into trouble. The long passages of dialogue move the story on quickly as there is less narrative and more dialogue.

    3) During the dialogue there are many things you can learn from characters such as their mood or even their emotions. For example in the story it says ” ‘What you looking at?’ Max looked at George. ‘Nothing.’ ‘The hell you were. You were looking at me.’ …” The tone from Max suggests that he is aggravated that he is being watched while he is eating and that also he likes to show people he has authority gets annoyed fairly easily. However George’s tone of voice shows the reader that he doesn’t really care and is never really that bothered about anything.

    4) The vocabulary used throughout the story help to give a general idea to where the story is set and the kind of time period it was set in. For example, it says ” … Into the kitchen with a catsup bottle.” the term ‘Catsup’ is an American term for Ketchup, implying that the story is set in America. In addition to this, it also says “like a vaudeville team” the term ‘vaudiville’ was a type of entertainment in the US during the early 20th century. This not only shows the reader it was set in America but it was also set during the early 20th Century. This shows that the vocabulary used helps to give the reader this information.

    5) During the story there are many turning points and mood changes. The turning points show the reader the point in the story where something changes whether it is good or bad and the mood changes show the reader where something has happened to change a characters mood. For example, it says “… a sawed-off shotgun resting on the ledge.” this shows a turning point as it makes the story slightly more serious and tense. Another example is ” ‘Oh, to hell with the clock.’ ” this shows a mood change as it shows one of the characters getting angry at an object which could imply that they are stressed as they want everything to hurry up and go well.

    6) The ending slightly links to the beginning as at the beginning and ending there is an element of waiting around. For example, at the beginning it says ” ‘It isn’t ready yet.’ ” this shows that they will have to wait for something to be made which could foreshadow that there is going to be something else to wait for in the ending. At the end it says ” ‘ I cant stand to think about him waiting in the room…’ ” This shows that someone will be waiting for something to happen. implying that from the start to the end they spend most the time waiting for things to happen.

  2. polly

    1. The narrative descriptive is important as it sets the scene and suggests the historical context of the novel in some instances. For example ‘The door of Henry’s lunch-room opened… They sat down at the counter’ and ‘sitting on a stool beside the wicket with the muzzle of a sawed-off shotgun resting on the ledge’. This opening line gives the reader a basic idea of the scene and however brief is important to help the reader picture the skin, in addition the mundane settings of the lunch room contrast with the threats of violence and tension that ensues. In addition the second quote suggests the period as the ‘shotgun’ is a older gun and would probably not be a weapon used in a more modern context. More specifically the descriptive narrative suggests that the story is set in America, for instance ‘the dishes passed through into the kitchen with a catsup bottle’. The word ‘catsup’ is American so gives the reader a idea of the context and adds to the overall imagery of the story.

    2. The dialogue is very important in giving the story pace and gradually increasing the suspense as the group wait for Anderson. For example ‘We’re going to kill a Swede. Do you know a big Swede named Ole Anderson?’ and ‘We’re killing him for a friend’. This dialogue is not over complicated but gives the reader a clear indication of the intentions of the characters and increases the tension as it becomes clear that the pair are going to commit a murder in the lunchroom. This is also important as the suspense forms the main body of the novel, as the reader is manipulated to anticipate the next events through out the story even though the suggests climax does not happen.

    3. The dialogue establishes the relationship of power that the killers exercise over the characters. For instance the killers refer to Nick and George as ‘Bright boy’ repeatedly through the story, the use of the word ‘boy’ suggests the term is patronising as it refers to small child suggesting a certain control over the Nick and George, moreover the word ‘bright’ is used as the killers are actually suggesting the opposite and possibly referring to George as ‘bright’ because he is following their instructions increasing the effect their intimidating behaviour. Similarly dialogue between Al and Max establishes Al as having a postion of power over Max, for example Max frequently commands Al ‘Shut up’ and ‘You talk too damn much’. This suggests to the reader there is a hierarchy between the pair and could possibly relate to the historic context of the novel as there was a more rigid class system.

    4. Vocabulary in the story gives the reader a idea of the time period and suggests the novel as being set in America. For example ‘catsup bottle’, ‘a street car motorman came in’ and ‘nigger’ suggest a the novel’s date to be around the 1940s as this language would’ve been typical. More specifically ‘nigger’ would be closely associated with this period with black people having little rights and being routinely prejudiced against with derogatory terms such as a ‘nigger’ being commonplace. Similarly the word ‘street car’ suggests the time period as this term has long since gone out of use. In addition ‘catsup bottle’ is a typically American dialect replacing the word ketchup suggesting the provenience of the story.

    5.Through the story the suspense and tension is increased and there are a number of points that indicate a more sinister tone as the killers reveal their intentions. For instance ‘We’re going to kill a Swede. Do you know a big Swede named Ole Anderson?’. This is the represents a turn as the other characters not only realise the gravitas of the situation it is also revealed that the person the pair intend to kill is a acquaintance of George manipulating the reader to consider George’s next actions as he has been told this new information.

    6.There are certain links between the beginning and end of the novel as in they both feature the characters waiting and a certain sense of suspense. For instance they are waiting for Anderson to enter the lunchroom in the beginning ‘We’ll give him 10 minutes’ and then at the closing scene of the novel Nick comments ‘ I can’t stand to think about him waiting in the room and knowing he’s going to get it.’ This reflects the overall mood and atmosphere of the story of a feeling of suspense and waiting suggesting perhaps a message to do with the waiting as it the suspense is possibly worse than the final act of murder.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      Thank you, Polly. Your observations are absolutely spot on! And I agree with you – there is a sense of anti-climax in this story (2). Quick question though: does this make it any less effective as a short story? Think: if Hemingway never intended for Ole Anderson’s death to occur during the timeframe the reader is given, what did he hope to achieve? Your comment (6) anticipates this question: ‘the overall mood and atmosphere of the story of a feeling of suspense and waiting suggesting perhaps a message to do with the waiting as it the suspense is possibly worse than the final act of murder’. Good stuff! Mr Legowski

  3. Katie

    1. Since most of the short story is in dialogue, the narrative description helps to describe characters, where they are, and what they are doing at that time; in short, the narrative description is used to set the scenes. For example: “Outside it was getting dark… two men at the counter read the menu”, this tells us both what time of the day it is and introduces the two men. Also, the narrative describes actions that the characters do, for example: “He leaned forward and took the ham and eggs”. Narrative description is also used to describe the characters in the short story, “He wore a derby hat and a black overcoat”.

    2. In ‘The Killers’ Hemmingway has used mostly used dialogue to help the story progress. Firstly, through the dialogue we discover the names of the characters as they are unknown to us up to the point, “What do you want to eat, Al?” is the first time we discover that one man is called Al. The dialogue also helps us to know the time the story is set in, “its five o’clock”. Also, we discover the motives of the men, Max and Al, through when Max tells George “We’re going to kill a Swede.”

    3. Though the dialogue, the audience not only discover the names of people in the story but a bit about their characters. For example, the characters of Max and Al like to make fun of both George and Nick by calling them “bright boy” in a sarcastic manner and when Max says: “You’d make a girl a nice wife”. This is obviously meant to make the other characters feel intimidated. Also, a few times in the story Al says to Max “You talk too much”, this is a clue that Al considers himself above Max and then feels like he needs to tell Max to not give the game away to George. In the story we also learn that the black cook, Sam, is used to having a gag, “I don’t what any more of that”, meaning that he is used to racial discrimination.

    4. In the story, vocabulary helps to set the time and the place of the story. For example, typical American terms such as “Catsup” (American Ketchup) and “Vaudeville” help to know it is set in America. Also, when George says “He must have got mixed up in something in Chicago” helps us to know its set in America. We also know that it’s sometime in the past because of the racist term “Nigger” that is not used in a casual way today. We also know this from the fact that they use terms such as “Saloon” and “Lunch-counter”.

    5. What I believe to be the first turning point in the story is when Max and Al demand Sam, George and Nick to come and stand at the counter, “Tell the nigger to come out here”. This is a turning point as suddenly, the other characters realise something is going wrong. Also, there is an element of suspense as we slowly uncover the reasons why the men are doing this. Another turning point however is when the two men finally leave, this is because the tension is released and because then they decide to go and tell Ole Andreson.

    (I did not do question 6 as I didn’t really understand the question)

  4. Emily H

    1.The function of the narrative description is to provide an added information on what the dialect does not show. For example ‘‘The door of Henry’s lunch-room opened… They sat down at the counter’. This shows the actions of the men and also the way that the scene is set. As this is the first line of the story it allows the reader to understand the scenery and produce their own imagery of how the setting would look. Another example is ‘the dishes passed through into the kitchen with a catsup bottle’. This statement allows the reader to get a better understanding of the time period at this is an older word, not so frequently used nowadays. Furthermore, it provides the reader with an understanding of the location, this word was more commonly used within old America. Another example of the narrative would be “Nick walked up the street beside the car-tracks…”, this implies the type of scenery, that they are in an area where there are cars, suggesting a street. This immediately gives the reader an added insight into the type of area it is set in.

    2. The narrative is needed to move the story as it builds suspense, it is leading up to the action that the men plan to take against the ‘swede’. When the men say ‘We’re going to kill a Swede’, it is the statement that changes the story and takes it from men ordering food, into killers. The suspense is an important part of the novel as it is the turning point, there with the use of creating a sudden twist in the novel. There is a lot of dialogue that helps to move the story on at quite a fast pace, this is shown in the dialect such as:
    ‘The nigger.’
    ‘What do you mean the nigger?’
    ‘The nigger that cooks.’
    ‘Tell him to come in,’
    ‘What’s the idea?’
    ‘Tell him to come in’. These are short statements that are used at a faster pace to speed up the pace up of the text, this also builds suspense.

    3. One of the most important things we learn about the characters is that the two men that come into the lunchroom are the killers, it is shown in the turn around statement of the text ‘We’re going to kill a Swede’. This simple, short statement shows that these men are blunt and clearly not ashamed of what they are planning to do. Another example of how the narrative helps the reader learn about the characters is ‘What you looking at?’ this is said by Max, one of the killers. This ‘snappy’ statement shows that they are quite short tempered. Another example of character description is ‘The nigger that cooks.’ It shows that they may not think a lot about the chef, he does not have a name he is simply referred to as a ‘nigger’, this word shows that he is black but also shows the context of the story, that word is generally frowned upon now, but was very normal then.

    4. A lot of the words used imply that the story is set a while ago. One of the workers at the lunchroom says, ‘The nigger that cooks.’ This word is not used anymore as it is considered to be ‘racist’, but it was considered to be normal to talk to black people in such a way. It was more commonly used around the 60’s to the 80’s. Another piece of text is ‘catsup bottle’, this was the word used for a ketchup bottle, this word is no longer used either. A ‘street car’ is no longer used in current dialect either, showing the time period is quite a bit earlier than now.

    5. I think that the main turning point in this novel is when one of the killers say ‘We’re going to kill a Swede’. This changes the novel from a couple of men visiting a lunch room, into a couple of murderers who are unashamed of sharing their plan. Another example of a turning point is when Anderson says ‘I don’t want to know what they were like,’ Ole Anderson said. He looked at the wall. ‘Thanks for coming to tell me about it.’ Though he seems depressed about the men looking to kill him, he also seems strangely unphased, as though he has given up on running from these men any longer.

    6. In the story there is a similarity between the beginning and the end because within both there is an element of waiting. It starts with the two killers entering the lunchroom waiting for the food to be ready and then waiting for the man that they want to kill to arrive there. This is shown in ‘George looked at the clock on the wall behind the counter’. The time plays a large role in building suspense throughout the story. Another example of waiting is the end of the novel when it seems that all Anderson is waiting for is for the men to find him and to kill him. This is shown when it says ‘He looked at the wall “There ain’t anything to do now.’ He has given up and is then just waiting to be hunted down.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      ‘The function of the narrative description is to provide an added information on what the [dialogue] does not show.’ An interesting and accurate observation, Emily, and one that shows how there’s an unusual ratio of dialogue to narrative (i.e. there’s more of the former!) compared to a ‘typical’ short story. I also appreciated your comment about how the dialogue speeds up the pace of the story. Thanks. Mr Legowski

  5. Elouisa

    1. The main function of the narrative description is to provide the readers with imagery of the setting which makes it easier for them to understand how the scene looks and what the atmosphere is like. An example of imagery in the story is ‘rom the other end of the counter Nick Adams watched them. He had been talking to George when they came in.’ Personally, this example causes me to wonder whether or not Nick knows George or if they are strangers to each other. Also this example is at the beginning of the story which encourages readers to continue reading to find out more in terms of the relationships of the characters and the plot.
    2. The dialogue plays a huge role in moving the narrative forward in the story. This is because there is a large amount of dialogue throughout and some of it poses questions which move the story on. For example ‘they were going to kill Ole Anderson’ progresses the narrative forward because it suggests a killing may occur and it causes the readers to wonder what could follow on from it. There is also a regular call and response system throughout the story which moves the narrative forward because the patterns of dialogue are quick and there are no long pauses where something hugely significant happens.
    3. Throughout the story we do not learn a great deal about the characters through the dialogue. However, an example of when we do is when the characters are being sarcastic towards each other, for example when Max calls ‘Hey, Al, bright boy wants to know what it’s all about.’ This suggests that the characters know each other and they feel that they can act laid-back around each other. Another example is ‘you talk too god-dam much’ which does not express sarcasm, but instead it shows that they are speaking informally, implying that they are friends. The way that the dialogue is set out so that the characters are fast to respond to each other suggests that the characters may not think too much about what they say before they say it and the conversation is spontaneous. This links in with the way that Al says ‘you talk too god-dam much’ because it suggests that he is not worried that the other characters are sensitive and will take his comment to heart, or upset them.
    4. In The Killers there are some examples of vocabulary which imply that the story is certainly set in the past. For example Hemingway uses ‘nigger’ a fair amount of times, suggesting racial discrimination and that the story is based around a time in the past when racial discrimination was a major social issue. Also, the writer uses ‘catsup bottle’ which means a ketchup bottle in America as well as ‘vaudeville team’ which relates to dramatic theatre, similar to talent shows. In the story a character says ‘he must have got mixed up in something in Chicago’ and earlier on ‘saloon’ is used, which both demonstrate America.
    5. In my point of view the main turning point in the story is when Max says ‘I’ll tell you, we’re going to kill a swede.’ This introduces the fact that the killers are in fact murderers which associates with the title of the story. Also, up to this point the story seems relatively ‘normal’ and ordinary, but now the readers wonder why the killers want to kill Ole Anderson as well as the answers to other questions related to the character’s plan. This point is also seen as a turning point to me because you start to relate to the feelings of the characters, for example how Ole Anderson is likely to be feeling.
    6. In my opinion the ending does link slightly back to the beginning in the way that at the beginning of the story we know that the characters are waiting until six o’clock in order to eat the food that they want from the dinner menu. At the end Nick says ‘I can’t stand to think about him waiting in the room and knowing he’s going to get it,’ which shows that a character is waiting and perhaps in some suspense. This links back to the beginning because it shows that both times the characters are waiting for something, which could suggest anticipation leading up the killing of Ole Anderson which we do not experience reading in the story. However there are no obvious links between the beginning and the end of the story which suggests that as the story has continued things may have changed, although there are now major turning points in the plot during this time period.

  6. Sam E

    In our group we were focusing on the turning points and mood changes of the short story.
    The first notable change that we discovered was the sudden feeling of anger from the men, as one of them says: ‘To hell with the clock’ – judging by the time period (we guessed early 20th century America) the use of ‘hell’ could be a form of blasphemy, which is greatly frowned upon.
    It could also indicate (with retrospect) that the man is stressed, that he is tense about something – the attempted murder of Ole Anderson.
    Further on in the story, the plot takes a turn when one of the men admits that they are ‘going to kill a Swede’ (a Swedish person, not the vegetable.) this shows that they are opening admitting to murder, or the eventuality of one.
    When a ‘sawed-off shotgun [is] resting on the ledge’ it is apparent that these men mean business and they aren’t going to be subtle; it further adds that these men aren’t bluffing and they know what they are doing.
    Lastly, the mood changes when the repetition of the word ‘nigger’, which is used to put Sam in his place, they say it multiple times to him, constantly enforcing the idea that they don’t like him either and that he should know his place – it also perhaps indicates that Sam is a big man, or perhaps he has nothing to lose, so he is the biggest threat of all the staff to the two suited men.
    It also reinforces the belief of the time period to be early 20th century.

  7. Leanne

    1. As their is a lot of dialogue in this scene the narrative description play an important role.This is because it gives the audience extra information which the dialogue doesn’t include, such as, imagery. An example of imagery is, ” He wore a derby hat and a black overcoat buttoned across the chest. His face was small and white and he had tight lips.” This information about Al wouldn’t be shown as vividly though dialogue. So therefore, the main function of the narrative description is to help to move the story on and add more audience.

    2. The dialogue moves the narrative forward by the characters asking questions such as “You’re a pretty bright boy, aren’t you?” This also adds more suspense to the story as it informs the audience about what’s going on in this scene. Its shows how the characters develop, as at first they appear to just be sitting at the counter in Henry’s lunch room trying to decide what to eat as at the beginning on the scene the first man said, “I’ll have a roast pork tenderloin with apple sauce and mashed potatoes,”. However, later on the dialogue shows them to be attempting a murder. For example Nick says “What are you going to kill Ole Anderson for? What did he ever do to you?” This encouraged the audience to read on to find out the answer and keeps the story interesting.

    3. Throughout the duration of the dialogue, the audience finds out who has more dominance in this scene. For example Max says, “You talk too damn much,” “Shut Up” he commands to Max” This shows that Al is more superior to Max, as he tells him to “Shut up”. However, you also find out in this scene that together Max and Al are more dominant over George as the mock him. For example, they say “You’d make some girl a nice wife bright boy.” which Is patronising as they are suggesting that he is female.
    The main thing you learn about the characters though the dialogue is they have previous history which encourages the reader to read on and find out. For example “He must’ve got mixed up in something in Chicago” and “He was in the ring you know” suggests that Anderson was previously a wrestler. Which shows how important the dialogue is for finding out more about the characters by what is said and say about them.

    4. The use of the word “Nigger” is used toward the cook, Sam is this scene. This is an example of how the vocabulary sets the time and place of the story. For example, as the word is openly used this suggests that the story is set in a time where it was acceptable for people to be racist and discriminating. perhaps in the 1930’s-1950’s, were the term “Nigger” was more openly used towards black people.
    The place of the story is shown though the dialogue, as the characters use words such “Saloon”, and “…mixed up in something in Chicago” which suggests that the setting is in America.

    5. The most effective turning point is after the Al and Max admit their intentions of ‘killing a Swede’. Max says, “We’re going to kill a Swede. Do you know a big Swede named Ole Anderson?” this changes the mood of the story as now there could possibly be a murder and this make it more intense between the characters and makes the audience ask more questions and want to read on.

    6. I think that the ending links to the beginning because at first the two men at the bar are discussing their plans on what to eat, “Give me chicken croquettes with green peas and cream sauce ans mashed potatoes.”, when at the end it changes to the plan of murdering Ole Anderson. Personally, I don’t think that this shows that everything was how it is before as the change is too great.


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