English 254 Class #3 Mon, Jan 14
Crane, “The Blue Hotel”
Shaped by civil war, Darwinism, social upheaval. A movement in fiction in late 19th C.
If Romantic transcends immediate to find ideal, and Realist centers attention on immediate, the Naturalist plumbs the actual to find the scientific laws that control its actions.
Atmosphere is setting (locale, period, weather, time of day) plus tone, an attitude taken by the narrator that can be described in terms of a quality—sinister, facetious, formal, solemn, wry.
The Blue Hotel
1. What’s this story about? And what’s the point?
2. What’s the main conflict, and who’s the protagonist and antagonist? Inner conflict?
3. Why is the Swede afraid? He seems to swing from being afraid of everyone to bullying everyone. Is he a believable character?
4. What’s the resolution of the conflict, and what’s the point of the resolution?
5. Analyze the structure of the story in formal terms: exposition, conflict, rising tension,
climax, resolution. What is the relationship between these parts and the divisions
marked out by Crane himself?
6. What’s the story’s setting? Does the setting have anything to do with the point of the story?
7. What purpose is served by the opening description of the blue hotel, so out of place in the drab Western landscape of grays and browns?
8. How’s the weather? What’s the point of the weather?
9. How does the storm in this story compare and contrast to the storm in Chopin’s story?
10. Why is most of the story about events at the Blue Hotel, and why do events at the saloon occupy only a small section? Why, in terms of the story’s structure, do we not learn until the very end that Johnny actually was cheating?
11. What is ironic about the “dreadful legend that dwelt atop of the cash machine: ‘This registers the amount of your purchase’”?
12. The moral of the story is explicit: “Every sin is the result of a collaboration.” What does this statement mean? Do you find it convincing?