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This essay considers the perspective of James Trammell Cox as presented in his essay: An Analysis of the Blue Hotel Cox begins his essay by discussing naturalism and Crane's fictional style. He suggests that Crane's technique "is that of the symbolist rather than the naturalist in that he carefully selects his details not as pieces of evidence in a one-dimensional report on man but as connotatively associated parts of an elaborately contrived symbolic structure." Basically the thrust of Cox's argument is centered around the degree to which Crane displays the characteristics of a naturalist writer.
He comments on the intricacy of the story and how well Crane weaves in the details and underlying messages which give the story it's subtle complexity. Much of Crane's hidden meaning is achieved through his manipulation of imagery. Cox focuses on this imagery and picks it apart, thus displaying themes that are fairly central to the ideas behind naturalism. One of these ideas that is carried throughout the story behind the façade of imagery is the idea of "man's inner nature [as] egocentric," as detailed by the contrast of the house to the storm in which the storm represents the "fundamental conflict between man and his environment." Within the house, in the central room is the stove, which is referenced frequently and can be seen as man's inner nature that "burn[s] with elemental aggressions" as the stove is described as "humming with a godlike violence."
Cox then addresses the idea of natural symbolism and Crane's use of color to represent feelings and emotions and thus subtly carry them through the story. The two most central colors used are red and white, red as shown through the fire to symbolize anger, and white as shown through the snow to show fear. Cox provides examples of this such as the Swede who throughout the story shows both extremes of emotion and at one point is described, "upon the Swede's deathly pale cheeks were two spots brightly crimson.
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Throughout the essay, Cox maintains that Crane's greatest strength is "not to be found in the literal surface but in the symbolic structure" that serves as a basis for "The Blue Hotel."