Blue Hotel
"The Blue Hotel" The Swede is a major source of conflict in "The

Blue Hotel". The external conflicts that he faces are caused by implied
internal conflicts. The Easterner sums up the cause of the Swede\'s internal
conflicts when he says, "...this man has been reading dime novels, and he
thinks he\'s right out in the middle of it-the shootin\' and stabbin\' and
all."(103) The Swede is frightened of everyone because in his mind, he is
in constant danger. He is described as "shaky and quick-eyed"(97) in
the beginning. Instead of talking to the old farmer, he stares at everyone and
makes "furtive estimates of each man in the room."(98) This internal
conflict between the real world and the one in the novels cause the first
external conflict between Johnny and the Swede. The Swede is very frightened and
believes that everyone is going to kill him. "He shivered and turned white
near the corners of his mouth."(100) The Swede was so frightened that he
went upstairs to pack his bags and leave. Scully indirectly caused the changes
to the Swede. Scully was trying to calm the Swede down by offering him a drink
of whiskey. Once the Swede had the alcohol in him, he became a totally different
person. Instead of leaving, he went back downstairs for supper. Johnny describes
the change to his father when he says, "...he was scared, but now he\'s too
fresh." The alcohol caused the Swede to become loud, arrogant and cocky.

This time when an argument breaks out at the card table, he is more than ready
to fight. After beating Johnny in a fist fight, the Swede leaves the hotel and
goes into town. The new found bravado caused by the alcohol and the fight is
what causes the Swede to lose his life to the Gambler. Even though this story
was written about the Old West, the theme that alcohol can change people is
still very true today. If the Swede had not drunk the alcohol, he would not have
had the courage to fight Johnny. The combination of the alcohol and winning the
fight gave the Swede even more courage and he died.


Crane, Stephen. "The Blue Hotel". Literature: An Introduction to

Reading and Writing. Eds. Roberts, Edgar V. and Jacobs, Henry E. 1998:97-115

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