The Blue Hotel Analysis

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In his short story, “The Blue Hotel,” Stephen Crane illustrates the conspiracy of silence. A paranoid Swede, residing in Scully’s blue hotel, spends most of his time expressing his worry that someone will kill him, basing his judgment off of the stories he has heard about the “Wild” West. His mental miseries soon become a self-fulfilling prophecy. A card game with Scully’s son turns sour and sparks a fight, where the cowboy encourages the son to “‘kill [the Swede]! Kill him!” Eventually victorious, the Swede leaves the hotel and enters a bar, where a gambler murders him. During the ordeal, the Easterner remains silent, despite understanding the Swede’s worries and witnessing Scully’s son cheat during the card game. Through the residents’ failures to take a moral stance, Crane demonstrates that the omission of the sin deserves as much condemnation as the commission of the sin. Throughout the story, the Swede descends into his own personal hell, which Crane composes through betrayal, murder, and elements of fire and ice. The blue color of Scully’s hotel resembles the hottest part of the fiery flame, while the “screaming and howling …[of] the dazzling winter” represent the ice. The Swede behaves with a nervous demeanor, “resembling a badly frightened man.” The reason for his apprehension lies in his…show more content…
The Swede drinks whiskey –more fire water- with ice, conveying that the Swede still remains in his personal hell, despite leaving the blue hotel. In the bar resides a deceptive gambler, who Crane describes as a “thieving card-player [but]…so generous, so just, so moral.” He habitually commits the Original Sin, betraying a few of those trust him in order to make profit. After refusing the Swede’s aggressive request for someone to drink with him, the gambler murders the Swede “as if [he] had been a melon”; he completes the Swede’s prediction of his murderous death in the “Wild”
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