The Blue Hotel

by

Stephen Crane

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The Blue Hotel: Section 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The cowboy proclaims that he would like to fight the Swede, but Scully doesn't let him. He says, with “mournful heroism,” the fight was Johnnie's, and that it does no good if they all come after him. Scully makes it clear that “it wouldn't be right” for them to gang up on the Swede. The Swede comes downstairs and demands to know how much he owes Scully, but Scully says he owes him nothing. The Swede responds that if anything, Scully must owe him something for his treatment. He then ruthlessly mocks the cowboy
Scully's questionable idea of what is “right” here demonstrates that he does not think he has done anything wrong. The question of what the men owe each other reflects the story’s broader investigation into each man's responsibility for the violence. That the other men stare blankly at the jeering Swede cements that latter’s status as an outsider; the Swede seems to be living in his own plane of existence, unable to communicate with the men in front of him.
Themes
Fate, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility Theme Icon
Judgment and Deception Theme Icon
The Swede leaves. As soon as the door to the closes, Scully and the cowboy go into hysterics, talking about all the ways they imagine hurting the Swede. They cry frantically together, “Oh if only we could—” talking over each other and agreeing in unison at the hurt they would cause the Swede if they could. The Easterner remains conspicuously silent.
Scully and the cowboy bond over shared rage at the Swede. It is notable that they don't really listen to each other here, but rather build on the other's violent thoughts. The Easterner remains silent, not contributing to but also not stopping the scene around him; he will later come to deem his passivity as a marker of his own guilt.
Themes
Fate, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility Theme Icon