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Paper on The Blue Hotel - Essay Example

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The important theme of the story, “The Blue Hotel” depicts the attitude towards life of the main character, Swede. Attitude of a man consists of several factors. …
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Paper on The Blue Hotel

In this story by Stephen Crane the theme of conflicts scores over other themes. The conflicts relate to Swede and societal reaction to his self-destructive individuality. The detailing of the theme reveals how Crane challenged such situations. Let’s take the example of Swede’s disposition to life. He strongly feels that everyone in the Blue Hotel wants to kill him. His fear is unfounded and no backgrounder information is provided or logic is given for the lurking fear in his mind. This indicates that conflict is the inherent part of his personality and that is the reason for him to surmise that those in the hotel are angry with him and they want to kill him. Even if it is assumed that he is paranoid being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, why the thought of killing only should float in his mind. This indicates the basic self-destructive behavior of Swede. Next, Swede picks up a fight with Johnny. The first phase of violence doesn’t produce any tangible results, and his second bout of aggression after he defeats Johnny in the fight, takes him to death. In a fight this time with a gambler, Swede is stabbed to death. This is a pointer, according to Crane, the things to happen when humankind as a whole takes to self-destruction, inviting disaster that will ultimately lead to total annihilation of the human race itself. Nature will not target human race alone in isolation for destruction. Plant and animal kingdoms also will perish to a great extent. The author of any novel/story, howsoever intelligently may try to sweep under the carpet events related to his life, will reveal something about one’s own psychology and attitudes to life, through the dialogues, and actions of his characters. This is true of Stephen Crane (1871-1900). He died at the age of 28 and thus he belongs to the younger generation, which is combustible. The grinding poverty he suffered all through his adult life and his poor standard of living has something to do with his arrogant social disposition. Added to the problem, he had a poor health record, suffered from tuberculosis, and contacted malaria and failed to take proper care of himself. Not caring for one’s health is again an act of self-destruction and that attitude has to find expression is his literary works and the same has happened in this story through the character of Swede. Did he feel isolated from the society and his surroundings? It must be so as reflected in his disposition. He acted like a rebel against all the established societal norms while interacting in a group. Swede seems to have the permanent grudge against the society and it is revealed in his small and big actions, right from his induction into the plot of the story. That grudge is the root-cause of his self-destructive behaviour. The group referred to in the Blue Hotel is a miniature model of the society and Swede picks up serious quarrels with those present there on one issue or the other. He creates issues out of no issues. He seems to have formed certain fixed negative opinions about the society. The reasons could be his upbringing and the adverse circumstances that he had to face early on in life. Nature seems to read the dormant agitations in his mind and as he arrives at the Palace Hotel along with two others, a blizzard develops and everyone stands isolated at the hotel. In the blizzard normal vision is impaired, one cannot see the surroundings properly, and Crane has used the ... Read More
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