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Humanity has worth only when they struggle for survival. Otherwise they can be seen as no more than over bred lice. In terms of my own views, I have a somewhat more positive outlook. While it is true that overpopulation and disease are problems created by the carelessness of humanity, there are also many cases of charity and caring that places many human beings above the harsh perception as mere conceited lice who have survived a storm or two. The technological, economic, and humanitarian developments over only the last century shows the great potential of the human heart. While it is therefore certainly not to be denied that humanity has inherent evils, there are also many contrasting cases of excellence that should not be overlooked. As a member of the human race, I prefer to concentrate on the excellence in others and myself. I find that this makes life far easier than a more negative view. I do believe that Crane is trying to be realistic in his outlook. However, realism is not always conducive to focused action.
The Swede demonstrates more humanity when he reaches the town and enters a bar. Apparently tired of isolation, the Swede attempts some conversation with his fellow bar patrons. Initially it seems to go well, but as soon as he mentions that he had beaten Johnny, nobody is willing to drink with him. The Swede loses his temper, and is killed in a bar fight. What is interesting is the way in which all the townspeople and the hotel guests stood behind Johnny. Even justice is kind to the Swede's murderer, known only as the gambler, who received only a three-month prison sentence.
When reflecting upon the events much later, the Easter's words, "Every sin is the result of a collaboration," appears to reflect the fact that citizens of the town and the hotel guests all united against the "evil," isolated force of the Swede. The "sin" refers to his murder, in which most of the collaborators appear to rejoice. However, it is also revealed that Johnny really was cheating, and that most of his companions knew about this. In effect, by saying nothing, the events were set in motion that led to the Swede's death. In this way, as the Easterner affirms:
We, five of us, have collaborated in the murder of this Swede." (Section IX).
By unifying in concealing Johnny's guilt, the Swede was isolated, demonized and eventually murdered. Right to the end of the story even the reader unites with the rest against the Swede.
While I can see how the unifying factor encouraged the five main characters to unite against the Swede to indirectly cause his death, I believe this depends upon several factors when seen more broadly. In fact, even in the story itself it can be said that the Swede brought such a collaboration upon himself. He personally isolated his fellow guests and was murdered as an indirect consequence. One could also see however that the dishonesty of those who knew about the cheating serves as an example of a minor sin that led to the greater sin.
I do believe that every action has a consequence, which is one of the points made by the story. In this way, one could see events, rather than human beings, as collaborating against the Swede. Indeed circumstances could also be viewed to collaborate with the Swede's own actions to result in his eventual death. When considered in this broader sense then, collaboration can be seen in every sin. I would rather disagree with a claim that every sin has human collaborators, as such actions are often committed in isolation.
One should also consider the definition of the word "sin." In the story it refers to the deception and the murder. These actions often require collaborators. In my opinion therefore, sin does mostly, but not always, require collaborators in terms of either human beings or specific conditions. However, sin is also often committed outside of such collaboration, as the tendency is to hide from discovery.
Crane, Stephen. "The Blue Hotel." The Electronic Text Center, Virginia University. http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/CraBlue.html[continue]
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