Naturalist Thesis Statement

Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements for “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes in “The Blue Hotel” and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them for your essay. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from “The Blue Hotel” at the bottom of the page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.

For background, here is a plot summary of “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1 : Determining the Antagonist and Protagonist of “The Blue Hotel”

There have often been differing interpretations of who the antagonist in this story is. Some say it is the Swede while others contend it is the town or outside influences—that the antagonist is not even a human. The Swede is the major antagonist of “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane because from the very beginning he makes those around him angry and uncomfortable—even before he begins to fight and becomes obnoxious. He cannot really be seen as the protagonist since without him the other characters might have gotten along just fine. He instigates the action and acts antagonistically toward other characters. His identity is only “the Swede" and this is stressed to show him as being an outsider just by nature of his heritage, thus in some ways setting up as an antagonist simply because of his “otherness"

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2 : Character Analysis of The Swede in “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane

The Easterner’s analysis of the Swede’s actions would explain why he began as fearful and ended up overcompensating once he thought he was safe. While this does not fully explain the Swede’s actions, it may account for his sudden change in personality. At first he cowered because of his perceptions of the Old West and once he saw that he was safe, he decided to act like his perceptions of a typical old West man, thinking nothing would come of it. This is a critique of the dime store perceptions of the Old West because they portray the Old West as a violent playground of gamblers and swindlers. It also almost seems as though the Swede is trying to provoke a response (especially at the saloon) that fits into his version of what the Old West is supposed to be.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3 : Formal Elements of Stephen Crane's “The Blue Hotel”

While the story by Stephen Crane is sequential in nature, the elements of abstract formal structure correspond perfectly with Crane’s almost nonsensical divisions within the story. It almost seems as though the story would have been perfectly complete without these divisions, but it seems as though these dividers break up the action so the reader can think about the deeper issues in each section instead of thinking about the story as a whole. The reason why most of the events take place at the Blue Hotel is because it shows the development of the Swede from fearful outsider to boasting troublemaker. It also sets the reader up for his eventual transition in this plot of “The Blue Hotel” into the saloon (the quintessential “Old West" setting) and makes the “dime store" theory more profound. When we find out that Johnny was cheating, we see that it does not matter in the end, that what was important was the Swede’s reaction.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4 : Retribution in “The Blue Hotel” ?

It does not seem as though the events could have been stopped and it does seem as though the Easterner is right, that all five of them had some part in the Swede’s death. While this may have a ring of truth, it does not fully account for the Swede’s action since it seems as though the Swede was bent on a certain path because of his perceptions about what would happen. While all parties might have contributed something to his death, it seems that the Swede’s greatest “sin" was allowing himself to believe the dime store theories about the Old West.

For background, here is a plot summary of “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane

This list of important quotations from “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements above by allowing you to support your claims. All of the important quotes from “Blue Hotel” listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics above and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes and explanations about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned and explained. Aside from the thesis statements for “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane above, these quotes alone can act as essay questions or study questions as they are all relevant to the text in an important way.

If you’re writing about stereotypes about the Old West influence the story, there are a

host of quotes that are likely to help you out. In this same vein, think about how the following quotes are examples of naturalism (the environment regulating action) … These are both themes you’ll find throughout Crane’s works…

The Swede says to Johnny upon entering (when he is beginning to act paranoid) … “I supposed there have been a good many men killed in this room" and when they ask him about playing cards, he yells out, “I don’t want no fight!"

The Easterner says, “Oh, I don’t know, but it seems to me this man has been reading dime novels, and he thinks he’s right out in the middle of it—shootin’ and stabbin’ and all"

Now, what do you make of the Easterner’s statement: “Every sin is the result of collaboration" (think about this if you are asked a question about who the protagonist is and compare your thoughts with those invoked by the quotes above)

While Death of a Naturalist is the title poem of Seamus Heaney's second collection of poems, had he known how baller it was going to be he could easily have titled the whole thing Birth of a Star (or maybe even Yeezus?). After its publication in 1966, it won more than a modest amount of awards in Europe (the Cholmondeley Award, the Gregory Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the Maugham Award). Basically, if this book were a pop album it would have gone triple platinum. It's the book that really put Heaney on the map in Ireland and helped him gain international celeb status.

Much of what Heaney's poetry has become recognizable for—natural imagery, in particular (did the title tip you off?)—is what you'll find in this collection, and this poem is no exception. Through a young boy's enthusiastic and curious eyes (this kid could have easily been a young Steve Irwin, Jack Hanna, or even Bill Nye the Science Guy—does anyone even remember him?), Heaney takes us through a rural setting where the adventures of discovering frogs and frogspawn take, and then change, shape. So hop to, and settle in for some classic Heaney.

Our world and our lives are constantly undergoing change. Some changes are big (birth and death, for example) while others aren't so big (growing up you liked hot dogs, but now the smell of them makes you queasy). Our knowledge is always growing, and our opinions and preferences are subject to change. If you've ever looked back at a family photo and wondered what you were thinking with that haircut, you know what we mean.

That's what this Seamus Heaney poem is about. At first our speaker is thrilled by the slimy frogspawn and starts his own private collection (practically a shrine) of it, but as the bigger picture becomes clearer (mainly, where frogspawn comes from), he becomes repulsed. How on earth slimy green-gray frog goop wasn't immediately disgusting to the speaker is beyond us, but that's not the point. The point is, because of what he experiences and learns, his opinions and feelings completely change. Growing up will do that to you. We know the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese's doesn't serve up quite the thrill that it used to. Purell, anyone?

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