"The Blue Hotel"
1. What strange behavior does the Swede exhibit and what can possibly explain it?
2. Describe the personalities of the other main characters:
Scully, Johnnie, the cowboy, the Easterner. What
impact does each of their personalities have on events in the story?
3. What is Scully's response to the Swede's claim that someone will
kill him? How does he behave toward the
Swede in section three of the story? What is his plan? Why does he show the Swede pictures of his children?
4. What role does each character play in regard to the fight between Johnnie and the Swede?
5. What is the characterization of women in this story?
6. Explain the role of the environment in the story. What impact
does it have on events? What is the significance
of the image of the blue hotel?
7. Why does the narrator supply so much background information about
the professional gambler at the saloon?
What role does the bartender play in events there?
8. What are the implications of the image of the dead Swede facing
the cash-machine legend: "This registers the
amount of your purchase."
9. What revelation is made in the final section of the story?
What does the Easterner mean when he says: "This
poor gambler isn't even a noun. He is a kind of adverb."
10. In view of the Easterner's statement about parts of speech, where
else does the story call attention to
language? What kinds of language do characters speak? Does language succeed in communicating the truth
about things? Why or why not? Besides words, how else do people communicate in this story's fictional world?