What is the relation between The Blue Hotel and nature? Given that this work is of the naturalist genre, the idea of nature as uncaring of humanity or even a foe of the characters is possible....

What is the relation between The Blue Hotel and nature? Given that this work is of the naturalist genre, the idea of nature as uncaring of humanity or even a foe of the characters is possible. However, where exactly does nature itself come into play?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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When "The Blue Hotel" by Stephen Crane is described as a "naturalistic" story, the sense of nature isn't quite what we mean when we talk about "nature" as wilderness. Instead, it can mean human nature or natural law. In particular, it implies that people act according to their natures, and that their behaviors and fates are determined as much by their upbringings as by conscious decisions or free will. 

The Swede begins by being frightened of the dangers of isolated western communities such as the small Nebraska town in which the story is set. He has a sense that people in such in close-knit community will stick together and prey on outsiders. What makes this a "naturalistic" store is not only its realistic setting with characters at the margins of society, but the sense that the Swede's nervousness and fear of being bilked in the game lead him to act oddly, drink too much, and eventually become aggressive with the gambler, causing the gambler to kill him. His attempts to escape the fate he fears, as in many naturalistic works, is in fact what leads to the very fate he tries to avoid. Thus the main sense of "natural law" here is the sense that one cannot struggle against the inevitable. 

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