Steven Crane : How 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 for his characters helps the reader to better understand his
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. Readers do not always follow and sometimes become lost in the scenery
instead of the action. Details are very important for the readers because if the reader can
not see the same thing that the writer sees then the reader might lose interest in the story.
Crane does not mean for this to happen. He is only trying to help the reader better
understand what is going on.
In the story “The Blue Hotel,” and in his poem ” Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War
is Kind,” 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
that “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.” All of that for a guy he just passed
along the street on the way to the hotel. In the end Crane even goes into an in depth
description of the bitter cold snow outside. Why does he see that to be so important?
Everybody knows that snow is cold. He strongly believes in very good details that is for
The setting is one of the most important elements of a literary work. If the setting
does not catch your attention as a reader then you are unable to get into the story. “The
locality has symbolic importance and could have been sketched without firsthand
experience.” This means that you would not ever have had to have been where the story
takes place to understand what it looks like because of his excellent description of the
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. “Each Crane shortstory is designed upon a single ironic
incident, a crucial paradox, or an irony of opposition. 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 tends to show this in most all of his works. Crane must have
found himself in these situation many times himself. If not he thought that this was a good
way to captivate the readers attention. He did believe that the readers attention was a
necessity in successful literary writing.
It is believed that the fight in the story “came from a fight Crane witnessed on his
travel across the west.” He tried to break the fight up that he witnessed instead of
encouraging it as everyone in the story does.
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 he is being betrayed by these men 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
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.” “He (the Easterner) does this by telling the Cowboy he
seen Johnny cheating but never spoke up.” If the Easterner would have spoken up sooner
the whole story would have changed drastically.
In the poem “Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War is Kind,” Crane also shows this
characteristic of betrayal. In the poem there is a wife, daughter, and a mother who feel as
if they have been betrayed by their husband, father, and son for leaving them to fight for
their country in war. The author tries to comfort them by telling them that everything will
be all right, “for war is kind.”
Crane also uses his descriptive setting to help the reader see what it looks like in
war. For example in line eleven he says ” a field where a thousand corpses lie.” In lines
eight and nineteen he says ” these men were born to drill and die.” You can just see the
men running around everywhere. Screaming and hollering while their friends are dying all
around them. There is nothing they can do but pray they will make it out alive.
Steven Crane is a very good writer and loves scenery. Although he does become
to involved in the scenery sometimes. For that reason some readers tend to draw away
from his work. Steven Crane does a good job establishing his common themes as well as
the scenery in both “The Blue Hotel” and “Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War is Kind.”
Crane, Steven. ” Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War is Kind.” Literature: An
Introduction to Reading and Writing. Editor. Edgar V. Roberts. New
Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1998. 1039.
Crane, Steven. ” The Blue Hotel.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and
Writing. Editor. Edgar V. Roberts. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1998.110 –
Narveson, Robert. (1969) Reprinted in Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism.
Editor. Vottelec, Thomas. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991. Seven: 109
Stallman, Robert Wooster. (1952) Reprinted in Nineteenth Century Literary
Criticism. Editor. Vottelec, Thomas. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991. Seven :