What is the problem in the short story "The Ambitious Guest"?

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The guest who comes to stay overnight with the family who lives at the bottom of the mountain is on a physical and intellectual/emotional journey.  He is described as being well-off, yet comfortable with those lower than he in social station, and his ultimate goal is to leave some sort of reputation or legacy behind.  What shape that legacy will take has yet to be determined.  The interesting irony is that at first it appears he has happened on a family of people who are content and cozy in their home and their lives; however, as the family visits with the traveler, it becomes apparent that outward appearances notwithstanding, each of the family members has something that is causing him or her to feel discontented.