The Blue Hotel
Steven Crane is not one of the most liked authors in the world. He tends to become to engulfed in the scenery around the action that is taking place rather than the action itself. When watching the movie, cannot experience this description since it is given to them. Details are very important for the readers because if the reader cannot see the same thing that the writer sees then the reader might lose interest in the story.
In the story “The Blue Hotel,” Crane uses his excellent setting and character description along with the physical, emotional, and intellectual responses of people under extreme pressure and the betrayal and guilt he shows between the characters to help the reader better understand the story or poem. Crane shows these characteristics in almost everything he writes.
In “The Blue Hotel,” Crane does an excellent job of describing the setting to you in every way possible. For example in the beginning of the story “The Blue Hotel,” he says “the hotel was painted a light blue, a shade that is on the legs of a kind of heron, causing the bird to declare its position against any background.” He does this type of depiction on every single thing he describes. Then in paragraph three he says, “A little Irishman wore a heavy fur cap squeezed tightly down on his head. It caused his two red ears to stick out stiffly, as if they were made of tin.” In the movie you are left with no dialogue and all you can do is witness what is being presented. In the end Crane even goes into an in depth description of the bitter cold snow outside. From his description the reader can imagine more chilling scenery than that one that can be created by Hollywood.
Crane also does a good job of establishing his characters through one of his major themes; the physical, emotional, and intellectual responses of people under extreme pressure. Crane shows this in his characters to help the reader better understand what the character is going through. One example of this is when the Swede accuses Johnny of cheating in a card game. This offends Johnny and his emotional and physical reaction is to challenge the Swede to a fight. Crane stories consist of that moment when the characters confront the inescapable impasse of their situation, they are caught and boxed in by fate, and then nothing happens. That is what happens with the Swede after he whips Johnny in the fight. The Swede feels as if he is no longer wanted at the hotel since Johnny’s father is the owner of the hotel. The Swede becomes boxed in an inescapable situation.
Crane also shows his naturally used theme of betrayal and guilt through the Swede. He does this after the Swede leaves the hotel. “The Swede goes into a bar and asks some gentlemen to drink with him to celebrate his victory over Johnny.” When they refuse he become angry as if these men are betraying him because they will not let him buy them a drink. “The Swede then threatens one of the gentlemen and the man retaliates and ends up killing the Swede.” Without this betrayed feeling the Swede would have probably lived. This was different in the movie. In the movie he is just ignored by a single visitor at the hotel. The stranger is threatened and he retaliates by stabbing the Swede.
This, the blue hotel, could have been one of Crane’s best works if it were not for the puzzling ending, in which the Easterner offers a moral that baffles not only the Cowboy, but the reader as well. The Easterner does this by telling the Cowboy he seen Johnny cheating but never spoke up. If the Easterner had spoken up sooner the whole story would have changed drastically.