The Night at The Hotel

Category: Written by Unknown / 10:16 AM

About the Author:- 
Siegfried Lenz, a German writer attained international acclaim as a novelist in the 1960’s Lenz novels often focus on life in Germany during National Socialism, the events of World War II, problems of democratization, and social.

The Night at the Hotel, written by Siegfried Lenz, is a touching story of a father’s efforts to help his extremely sensitive son. The child is made of delicate emotional fibre, like a mimosa. When his feelings are not reciprocated, the child behaves irrationally. He becomes resentful in his attitude towards everyone and his work.
This lesson gives us an insight into the character and nature of Schwamm, the father Mr. Schwamm is sensitive to the emotional needs of his son. Despite his poverty, he spends some money, and takes great pains to help his son to make him happy.

Mr. Schwamm comes to town, late at night. As there are no rooms available, he shares a room with a stranger. When Schwamm enters the room, the stranger requests him not to put on the light. Schwamm explains the reason for coming into town in a tone of apprehensive cheerfulness. He tells the stranger that he has a small son who is extremely sensitive, while going to school, he has to wait at the railway crossing for early morning train to pass by. As the train passes by, he waves frantically, desperately and eagerly at the passengers. None of them respond. The sensitive child becomes depressed. He withdraws into a shell. Listening to Schwamm’s story, the stranger concludes that Schwamm has come to town to take the early morning train. He wants to wave back to his son, so as to alleviate the child’s misery.

The nest morning Schwamm wakes up late, and misses the morning train. He returns home dejected. He meets his son who greets him excitedly, beaming with joy. His son tells him that a man not only waved for long, but tied his handkerchief to his cane. He held it out till the train was out of sight.
Schwamm realizes that it was the stranger who waved. He feels it was worthwhile sharing the room and his problem was solved by the stranger. The stranger hated children, because his wife had died during child birth. Schwamm is astonished at the stranger’s desire to help him to restore the child’s emotional state.

General instructions:-

  1. The answer should be in three distinguished paragraphs. The first paragraph must have a short introduction (1 or 2 lines) about the author and 2 lines about the relevant question. Do not exceed introduction more than 4 – 5 lines.
  2. The second paragraph must have the answer for the given question. If the question have more than one bit than the bit should also be answered in points.
    Eg. What time did Schwamn check into the hotel? What kind of room did he want? What did the receptionist offer him? Did Schwamn take it? The above question have 4 bits and each bit has to be answered in separate points.
    (i) Schwamn checked into the room at a late hour in the night. (ii) He wanted a single room. (iii) Since there was no single room available, the receptionist offered him a free bed in a double room. (iv) Yes, Schwamn took it.
  3. The third paragraph must be the conclusion of the answer.
  4. Write answers using textual words as much as possible.
Short Answer Questions:-
  1. Why do you think Schwamm wanted to get to know his partner?
    Was he afraid? Did he have anything to hide? Imagine you were Schwamm would you want to get acqualnted with the person who you were going to share the room with?
     Schwamm just wanted to get to know his partner out of curiosity. He was not afraid. He did not have anything to hide.
    If I were Schwamm, I too would do the same thing. 
  2. What did Schwamm do before he entered the room? Was he a suspicious person or a cautious person? Why?
     Schwamm slowed down before he entered the room. He tried to listen to some sounds the stranger might make. So he bent low and peeped through the keyhole. He was not suspicious but cautious. 
  3. Why did Schwamm suddenly freeze? Do you think Schwamm was frightened? Or just started?
     As Schwamm was groping for the switch, he suddenly heard a deep but firm voice ordering him not to turn the switch on. So he was alarmed and stood motionless. 
  4. What did the stranger ask Schwamm to do? Why did he want the room to be dark?
     The stranger asked Schwamm not to turn on the light. He wanted the room to be dark for two reasons. He might not sleep well with the lights on. Secondly, he might not be willing to disclose his identity. 
  5. “Were you waiting for me ?” Schwamm asked. (pare 5) Do you think the stranger was waiting for Schwamm? Why do you think so? What did the stranger say?
    Was the stranger waiting for Schwamm? How do you know?
     Yes, the stranger was waiting for Schwamm because he expected someone to come and occupy the free bed and so he had not locked the room and also had calculated the number of steps a person should take to reach the bed. 
  6. Why was Schwamm hesltant when he introduced himself to the stranger?
     Schwamm found his partner still awake and felt sure he wouldn’t fall asleep soon. He also seemed to be indifferent. So Schwamm wantd to make his acquaintance. He, therefore, took the initiative in introducing himself but with hesitation. He was hesitant because he had the strangerst reason imaginable for his coming into town. 
  7. (a) “I probably have the strangest reason for coming onto town”, Schwamm said. What was his reason? Do you think it was a strange reason?
    What was Schwamm come into town?
    Why did Schwamm’s come into town?

    A. Schwamm had a sensitive little son who used to wave to the passengers travelling by train. No pssenger showed the least courtesty of waving back to him. The boy was hurt and felt unhappy. So, Schwamm decided to wave back himself and thus make the boy happy. For this reason he came into town to take the early morning train. It was a strange reason.
  8. Why did Schwamm come to town?A. Schwamm’s son was in the peculiar habit of waving to the passengers every morning but nobody ever waved back. So he took it to heart and made himself sick, and his parents unhappy. So schwamm had come to town to assuage his son’s misery. He wanted to do this by taking the early train the next morning and waving back at him. 
  9. What was the reasonfor the strange behaviour of Mr.Schwamm’s son?
     Every morning on his way to school, his son had to wait at the railway crossing for the early morning train to go by. Further, he used to wave at the passengers continuously. But none of the passengers ever waved back. This was the reason for the boy’s unhappiness and strange behaviour. 
  10. When Schwamm was about to give his reason for coming into town. The noise of a train interrrupted him. Do you think trains had something to do with his reason?
    . I do think trains had something to do with Schwamm’s reason. He came to the town to take the early morning Kurzabch train and wave back at his son. Further it was because the passengers in the train who had no courtesy to wave back made the child sick. 
  11. Schwamm explained the reason for his coming into town in a tone of ‘apprehensive cheerfuiness’. Why was Schwmm appprehensive and cheerful at the same time? What was he apprehensive about? What was he cheerful about?

     Schwamm explained the reason for his coming into town in a tone of apprehensive cheerfulness.. He was apprehensive because of his son’s peculiar behaviour. He was cheerful because he was going to wave back to his son from the train and make him happy.
  12. What did Schwamm’s son do in the morning? How did he behave in the evenings? What was the reason for his strange behaaviour?

     In the mornings, on his way to school, Schwamm’s son used to wait at the railway crossing for the early morning train to go by. He waves at the passengers furiously, eagerly and desperately. Then he went to school.
    In the evenings, on his return he acted in a confused manner and, sometimes, even broke out in tears. He could not do his homework and did not want to play or talk to anyone. Finally the boy made himself sick for the simple reason that none of the passengers ever waved him back. 
  13. “I hate them and avoid them”.
    Why did the stranger in the hotel room hate children? What did he do next morning? What attitude to children does this action show?

    A. The stranger’s wife died giving birth to their first – born. He thought that the child had taken away his wife. So he hated children and avoided them. But he got into the train the next morning, waved back to Schwamm’s son and cheered him up. This action shows that the stranger did not really hate children. On the contrary, he had a soft heart for them. 
  14. “You are taking the Kurzbach train, are you?” Why did the stranger want to know? Was he planning to do something? Or was it just a casual question?
     The stranger wanted to know whether Schwamm was taking the Kurzbach train the next morning. He was planning to do something for Schwamm’s Son. His question was an enquiry but not a casual one. 
  15. Who do you think was the man who waved out to Schwamm’s son from the train? Why do you think so?A. The man who waved out to Schwamm’s son from the train was the very stranger who he had shared the room with, the night he went to town. That night, the stranger asked Schwamm not to fall over his crutches. Secondly, Schwamm did not tell anybody else about his trip to the town and the reason therefore. Further Schwamm’s son said that a man had waved with a cane mistaking the crutch for a cane. Then it must be the stranger who waved at the boy. 
  16. “When he awoke in the morning, he was alone in the room”.
    What do you think had happened in the hotel room in the morning?
    What had the stranger done?
    What do you think happened in the morning in the room? What did the stanger do?
     Schwamm overslept in the hotel room. Finding him asleep, the stranger undertook the journey in the train. He waved back to the little boy tying his handkerchief to his crutch and holding it out of the window for a very long time.
  17. i) When Schwamm met his son in the afternoon, why was the boy excited?
    ii) Why was the little boy so happy when his father got home that afernoon?
    (or) iii) How did the stranger help Schwamm solve his problem?

     Schwamm’s son was very happy that afternoon because the stranger was good enough to wave back to him for a very long time. Since the boys’ waving was promptly responded he was excited and received his father pummeling his thighs with joy. The boy’s mental illness was set right and the parents’ agony vanished. Thus, the stranger solved Schwamm’s problem of assuaging his son’s misery.
  18. Do you think Schwamm did a good thing in deciding to share a room with a stranger? Why do you think so?
    Schwamm did a good thing in deciding to share the room with a stranger because it was the very stranger who carried out his plan successfully and effectively the next morning and restored the boy to happiness. Had he not done so, the purpose of his coming to town would have been defeated. 
  19. “In “The Night at the Hotel”, What was Schwmm’ s reason for coming into town? Why was he unable to achieve his purpose? In what way was his purpose achieved?
     Schwamm’s reason for coming into town was to take the Kurzbach train the next morning and wave back to his son so as to assuage his misery. He was unable to achieve his purpose because he overslept and was eventually late for the train.
    But his purpose was achieved as the stranger in his room did the waving to his boy travelling by the same train.


  1. instinctively: as a matter of habit/ in a thoughtful mood/ without any previous thinking/ suddenly
  2. startled: suddenly/ alarmed/ shook with fear/ ran away in fear/ moved immediately
  3. volunteered: offered services in return for money/ accepted readily/ offered services without any compulsion/ resisted
  4. desperately: mix again after separating/ without no fear/ ready to do anything/ as a result of loss of hope boldly
  5. irritation: supplying water to the fields/ doing just like others/ act of making one angry/ discomfort
  6. assuage: to aggrevate/ to add to/ lessen pain or suffering/ look more aged
  7. sensitive: reasonable/ much developed/ easily offended/ having no sensation
  8. regretfully: showing sorrow for not being able to comply with/ showing gratitude once more/ showing dislike/ showing spirit of revenge
  9. bewildered: worried/ troubled/ confused/ surprised
  10. hesitate: look at with hatred/ to do a thing in haste/ waver/ to speak out without fear
  11. imaginable: that can be imagined/ wild guess/ being able to imagine things/ being able to form an image of
  12. shrug: small/ rug/ toughness/ slightly raise weep

(13 – 18) Select the best option that conveys the meaning of the underlined word
He scolded his friend instinctively. [ ]
a) without any meaning b) without any previous plan c) without any reason d) without any feeling
Raju was in a daze regarding his future. [ ]
a) confused b) clear c) unknown d) ignorant
The beds began to vibrate [ ]
a) turn round and round b) move up and down c) move forwards and backwards rapidly and continuously d) produce waves
Gopal was down hearted on hearing the news of his son’s failiure in the examination. [ ]
a) shocked b)very angry c)unhappy d) be sympathetic
The parents were apprehensive of their son’s conditions. [ ]
a) anxious b) aware of c) eager d) interested
Don’t fall over my crutches or run into my suitcases. [ ]
a) strike against by accident b) go fast into c) open and see what was inside d) search

Key Answers:-
1. without any previous thinking
2. shook with fear
3. offered services without any compulsion
4. ready to do anything
5. discomfort
6. lessen pain or suffering
7. easily offended
8. showing dislike
9. confused
10. waver
11. being able to imagine things
12. slightly raise weep
13. without any previous plan
14. confused
15. produce waves
16. unhappy
17. anxious
18. open and see what was inside

Thank for sharing!

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