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Car Crash While Hitchhiking theme
Told in the first person’s voice, by a seemingly psychic narrator who claims to foretell what will happen in the future, unlike many stories, the short story “Car Crash While Hitchhiking,” focuses less on developing a conventional linear plot. Instead, the short story focuses on illuminating a particular state of mind that prompts the readers to question the morality and the sanity of the narrator and the story’s characters as well. High on hashish, alcohol, and amphetamine that was given to him by three people he had met on the road, the mystical hyperawareness told by the narrator appears like a delusional effect of the drugs he had taken. Thus, through the delusional implications of the drugs, the narrator bends the limits of reality and perception and hence is considered unreliable.
To begin with, by the time his narration begins, the narrator has already been to three different cars where he had been drugged by the owners of the car. Under the influence of these drugs, the narrator maintains that he had the powers to foretell anything that was going to happen in the future. Additionally, the unreliability of the narrator is exemplified at the point where he states that during the thunderstorm he could distinctly identify each rain drop and going so far as to recognize each droplet by name (Johnson 4). 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.
Car Crash While Hitchhiking summary
In the same vein, the narrator admits that during the bulk of his narration of the story to the reader, he was “something less than conscious” for having agreed to get several rides from different strangers all of whom had shared their drugs with him (Johnson 3). Besides, before he got into the third and final car ride, the narrator maintains that he could foretell that a car crash is going to happen. However, upon getting into this car, the narrator makes himself comfortable and makes some vatic utterances and the sweetness of the voices of the family in the car, and caring not about the impending car crash (Johnson 6). From this context, the mention of the drugs used by the narrator and his carefree attitude towards the impending demise makes it easy for the reader to question the narrator's reliability. This is because the customary narrative procedure has disappeared and the reader realizes that they have been sucked into a crack head’s world.
Moreover, the reliability of the story is threatened at the scene of the accident. According to the narration given, the description of the accident is, in its deepest essence, frightening to the extreme. However, the narrator maintains that he seeks help from a truck driver who is seemingly, not startled, at the site of the “wreck accident.” Additionally, the accident leads to a scene of the hospital where the narrator confesses to having told a series of lies to the doctors, so as to forego medication. Also, as the wife the “dying man” receives the news about the death of her husband, the narrator does not exemplify any sense of emotion, but he instead, takes the time to describe the shrieking scream by the woman. Even worse, the narrator claims that it felt wonderful for him to be alive to hear the lady’s shriek (Johnson 11).
In conclusion, the narrator’s reliability is questionable right through the chronology of events of the story. 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. 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.
Johnson, Denis. "Car Crash While Hitchhiking." Jesus' Son: Stories, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015, pp. 1-12.
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