Crane uses the blizzard in “The Blue Hotel” to symbolize chaos and isolation. The increasingly harsh, unforgiving weather outside reflects the mounting violence between the Swede, the cowboy, the Easterner, and Johnnie inside the hotel. This is clearest when the blizzard winds burst through the hotel door and scatter the cards across the room. While the cards are symbolic of the men's attempts to control their fate, the chaos of the blizzard winds prove that these attempts are futile. The blizzard is also used as a narrative tool to enhance the feeling of isolation and alienation that Crane creates. At one point in the story, just after a confusing run-in with the Swede, the cowboy states that he “hopes we don't git snowed in, because then we'll have to stand this here man being around with us all the time.” The blizzard creates a sense of fear for the cowboy in this scene, and in this moment he demonstrates how the isolating effect of the blizzard forces the men to remain together despite their desire to escape.
The Blizzard Quotes in The Blue Hotel
As the men trooped heavily back into the front room, the two little windows presented views of a turmoiling sea of snow. The huge arms of the wind were making attempts—mighty, circular, futile—to embrace the flakes as they sped. A gatepost like a still man with a blanched face stood aghast amid this profligate fury. In a hearty voice Scully announced the presence of a blizzard.
The Swede backed rapidly toward a corner of the room. His hands
were out protectingly in front of his chest, but he was making an obvious struggle to control his fright. “Gentlemen,” he quavered, “I suppose I am going to be killed before I can leave this house. I suppose I am going to be killed before I can leave this house!” In his eyes was the dying-swan look. Through the windows could be seen the snow turning blue in the shadow of dusk. The wind tore at the house, and some loose thing beat regularly against the clapboards like a spirit tapping.
No snow was falling, but great whirls and clouds of flakes, swept up from the ground by the frantic winds, were streaming southward with the speed of bullets. The covered land was blue with the sheen of an unearthly satin, and there was no other hue save where, at the low, black railway station—which seemed incredibly distant—one light gleamed like a tiny jewel.