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David Hege

387 Chester Tysinger Dr.

Lexington, NC 27292


“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.


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