The Paranoid Swede

  1. Choose a key character and discuss the reader’s growing understanding of this character based on his words, gestures, and acts towards other characters, in the opening 4 chapters of the story. Is dialect important? Back up your statements with examples of passages.

One key character in “The Blue Hotel” is the Swede who is mysterious in comparison to other guests, and with a questionable background. In the beginning of the narrative, the author terms the Swede as a, “shaky and quick-eyed Swede” (Crane, p1). The other characters explore on whether the hotel visitor is a Swede based on his accent which was Dutch. Dialect is applied by the narrator where he relates the character with his country of origin and that he had a Dutch accent. Reading the passage illustrates that the Swede was paranoia based on his queer actions in the hotel. 

The narrator represents the Swede’s paranoia when he first suggests that a person was murdered in the front room of the hotel. Other instances of paranoia are presented by the narrator when the Swede caused a fight with Johnnie due to false accusation and when he refused a drink from the hotel proprietor stating that Scully wanted to poison him. One clear aspect that the reader notes from this narrative is that the Swede is named from his country of origin (dialect). All throughout the story, the narrator displays that the Swede has a nervous problem which is more of paranoia. This is displayed based on how he relates to other visitors in the hotel. 

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The Swede seemed, “to be occupied in making furtive estimates of each man in the room. One might have thought that he had the sense of silly suspicion which comes to guilt. He resembled a badly frightened man” (p2). His actions are strange to the reader, in particular, at the beginning of the story. However, it is evident later that his paranoia is towards every person directing towards him. For example, he views the westerners as dangerous but with a laugh that was strange to the viewers. The Swede’s nervous issue is evident on page 4 when coiled in a corner exclaiming that someone was up to kill him before he left the hotel. 

Work CitedCrane, Stephen. “The Blue Hotel by Stephen Crane”. Collier’S Weekly, 1898, Accessed 10 Feb 2019.

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