Complete summary of Denis Johnson’s Car Crash While Hitchhiking. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Car Crash While Hitchhiking. Stories Strangely Told is a monthly series that explores formal experiment in short-form fiction. When I was twenty and thought I had just about. Car Crash While Hitchhiking themeTold in the first person’s voice, by a seemingly psychic narrator who of the voices of the family in the car, and caring not about the impending car crash (Johnson 6). Johnson, Denis. “Car.

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The narrator, after all, is the one with the answers.

Touchstone, We use cookies for best user experience. There was something desultory, even unfinished, about the blocky intro of this story, which seemed from its title to already give away its punchline. There is more work than usual on the reader’s end to find meaning because uitchhiking story’s purpose is unclear.

Jeffrey Eugenides on “Car-Crash While Hitchhiking”

The narrator in “Car Crash” could have done any number of things to deny himself knowledge — huff paint thinner to lower his IQ he clearly has a drug habitsimply avoid all books and intelligent people for the rest of his life, kill himself — but only by asking questions is he again confronted with this unwanted knowledge. Subtext emerges as a result of conflict between the inner self desire and the outer self dialogue.

His best characters were sharp wanderers, his best ideas tapping that well Whitman seemed so effortlessly to draw from. Another technique suggested by Glover is “answering with a question. And then there are stories that pivot on turns of phrase. The key to subtext is establishing a clear intention or goal for your character. We are bracing for impact. However, despite the introduction of a new character the semi-truck driverthe narrator refuses to explain anything to him, and rather than just subverting the trope for the sake of subverting it, Denis Johnson does so with a purpose.


The problem is that the narrator is high on several kinds of drugs which threatens the reliability of his story. The first two paragraphs of the story divulge the entirety of its action: It’s a mysterious story without barely any explanation. By asking questions of those around him, he is demonstrating that he doesn’t possess the answers. First Name First name should have at least 6 letters.

Car Crash While Hitchhiking Analysis

Although we have no reason to suspect that the narrator is a bad person, his actions in the story make him seem self-interested. For this reason, the reader gets to a place where the events of the story are no longer operative since, after all, they are narrated from the twisted mind of a narrator who is under the influence of drugs.

Last Name Last name should have at least 6 letters. I knew a certain Oldsmobile would stop for me even before it slowed, and johnsln the sweet voices of the family inside it I knew we’d have an accident in the storm.

A short story must be, by definition, short. Under the influence of these drugs, the narrator maintains that jitchhiking had the powers to foretell anything that was going to happen in the future.

Here, the questions are being used to indicate the narrator’s focus has shifted to denying this knowledge he possesses. Later, it happens again: This is him, right before their car hits a sedan parked on the highway: This being said, the reader is bound to consider the narrator unreliable since it seems to them that the reality of the story is twisted primarily because the narrator is under the influence of some drugs. In the case of “Car Crash While Hitchhiking,” the narrator’s main goal is to deny himself both the knowledge he already possesses and any additional knowledge.


Stories Strangely Told: Denis Johnson’s “Car Crash While Hitchhiking”

There is a climactic event some exposition but none of the characters possess an arc and the story might be merely a figment of the narrator’s imagination. As a result, the reader is meant to accept these visions at face value, although later on the narrator will attempt to deny them. The narrator does not express grief during these moments but he does express feelings of awe. The author, on the other hand, removes any form of rational linkage from his story by giving all forms of unacceptable behavior on the part of the narrator.

However, the contrast may not always be in such close proximity. It saves only one person at a time, and the world is full of people. The way he elects to do that, interestingly enough, is to ask questions in an attempt to deny himself a position of authority.