The Stout Gentleman





The Stout Gentleman


The Stout Gentleman by Washington Irving gives an account of a traveler’s inquest into a mysterious figure, who was residing in a country inn during the past centuries. Irving uses humor, allusiveness together with lifelike quality in various descriptions of the scene, happenings, exchanges, and rhetoric thoughts of the stout gentleman in question. Having spent two days at the country inn while the weather was rainy and gloomy, Chekhov’s characterization is depicted as curious and eager to unravel the presence of the esteemed visitor who resided in the room number thirteen. Eventually after all the efforts and following up into his room, the stout gentleman could not be identified with the last opportunity, a glimpse of him heading off in a coach. The ambiguity in The Stout Gentleman character enabled the awareness of the unknown among the people by creating suspense.


The stout gentleman in the story possessed unique identification and set out from other characters as narrated. The room in the country inn where he stayed for the brief period was earmarked as number thirteen, yet no one saw his presence or attributed to his presence. All the interactions between the character and others were short lived and offered divergent responses as to the attributes. On the positive aspects, his presence did not deter the running of the country inn, which hosted numerous visitors from time to time. All figures from authority, service, and welfare departments were humbled after the brief exchange with the character. In the end, he left the country inn without any other person’s knowledge or admission of his stature despite the proximity.


Irving uses suspense to highlight the need of the unknown within the context of the story. Suspense was derived from the constant escape of the characters in identification of the stout gentleman while Chekhov continuously pursued the identity. For example, in the onset, the setting of the country inn was lonely while the gloomy weather added to the monotony. However, all this changed when an order from room number thirteen was raised with directives on the meal preparation. The author significantly states that the gentleman had distinct preference and that the instructions were derived with a sense of impatience. Suspense of the character is commenced since the treatment offered to others was not isolated as this.

            Suspense showed the interaction between the known and unknown. It signified the teasing between two contrasts in understanding. The seen and unseen, described and undecided as well as the revealed and unrevealed all help plot the suspense by the writer. Using descriptive imagination, the plot develops from the author’s room and into the gaze of the external surrounding. The author lets the reader try to grasp the eventualities as they unfold without heading into the central idea. From the description of the weather, inn’s composition of the livestock and physical outlay of the facility, Irving takes his time in developing the known to unknown. It is further evidence by identification of the inn’s staff members, visitors, and setting of the streets.            

            One of the essence of suspense as created by the writer was to enable the reader develop attention to the plot development. The fascination with descriptive form of the country inn enhances a pictorial imagination by an independent-minded individual. Similarly, the effect of the unknown stout man’s identity increases the need to know him. The characters in the story help in systematic plot development while concealing the identity. For example, all other visitors to the country inn followed protocol in their service delivery without reinforcements from the authority. There was a general sense of admission and service enhancements despite the stature of the visitor. However, in the stout gentleman’s case, quick orders were served to the relevant staff members in dispensation of their duties. Chekhov attests to the quick response he received.


Uncertainty delivers the inexactness of meaning especially in literature form through difficult resolving of an idea, statement, or claim. Author Irving exploits the use of ambiguity in the story to help elicit different meanings and variations of the stout gentleman’s character. Ambiguity forms part of the storyline especially when trying to decipher the identity of the stout gentleman. For example, after the servant maid had received a backlash from the stout gentleman on the mode of service, the landlady had to intervene. Initially, the author states that the landlady could not condone improper treatment of her workers at the country inn. Instead, after the initial storming into room number thirteen; her heightened displeasure was drowned back as evidenced by her big laughter after leaving the room.  

            Ambiguity raises concerns on the characterization of the author’s intended depiction of judgment. The personality of the stout gentleman poses a different twist rather than the expected reaction from other characters in the story. For example, at the initial service of his breakfast, the distinct specification of the preparation was keen to detail. After the delivery of the meal, he could be heard grumbling in displeasure and voiced his concerns. The aftermath that ensued demanded a re-preparation of the meal as instructed by senior member. This would require a complete process of cooking despite the original efforts. Despite the obvious displeasure in the treatment, the servant had only positive tribute to the stout gentleman after the events.

            The role of ambiguity by the author helps in drawing the audience or reader in. The author effectively appeals to the reader through salient imagination and detailed presence of each character, especially the stout gentleman. All the proceeds of his behavior, reaction, and reception by other members of the public enable a solid foundation into his identity. In addition, the pursuit of his presence is followed up Chekhov throughout the mainstay at the country inn, up to when he leaves in the coach. Ambiguity is then delivered when the reader is left without a resolution of the real identity and character of the stout gentleman in the end. A sense of non-satisfaction or regret is felt after the only hope at the end is diminished when the coach leaves.  


The Stout Gentleman by Washington Irving is a story based on ambiguity and creation of suspense. It gives an account of a traveler’s inquest into a mysterious figure, who was residing in a country inn for a couple of days to no avail. The author is able to contain the reader’s curiosity by using humor, allusiveness together with lifelike quality in various descriptions of the scene, happenings, exchanges, and rhetoric thoughts of the stout gentleman in question. It enables development of complex questions as the reader tries to utilize critical thinking on the real identity, attribute, and personality of the mysterious stout gentleman.

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