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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I find it hard to understand why Johnson chose to include this element in the story.

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

At his most lazy, he fell into the same white-boy traps of an Elmore Leonard cad Hunter S. When whilr learn about the narrator’s foresight in “Car Crash,” his true motivation hasn’t yet been established, but if the reader questioned whether this foresight was real, there would be nothing for the narrator to deny later on, and subtext would be lost.

Thus, through the delusional implications of the drugs, the narrator bends the limits of reality and perception and hence is considered unreliable. We will call you only if there is an urgent question, and your reply is needed to ensure your order ednis completed within specified deadline. Another reasons why I believe this story occurs in the narrator’s head is that he claims to possess the ability to see the future.

The problem is that the narrator is high on several kinds of drugs which threatens the reliability of his story. Despite being asleep, he “[dreams he is] looking hicthhiking through [his] eyelids, and [his] pulse [marks] off the seconds of time.

Car Crash While Hitchhiking Analysis

I sensed everything before it happened. It felt wonderful to be alive to hear it! The narrator in “Car Crash” could have done any number of things to deny himself knowledge — jounson 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 whole questions is he again confronted with this unwanted knowledge.


It’s a mysterious story without barely any explanation. There is more work than usual on the reader’s end to find meaning because the story’s purpose is unclear. This exchange creates more space between the juxtaposition, and perhaps becomes clearer to the reader on a second read-through, but either way, what’s johnsson is that the writer has established the contrast for the reader. Moreover, the reliability of the jobnson is threatened at the scene of the accident.

The narrator may not be able to rid himself of the knowledge he already possesses, but he can avoid learning anything more. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. When the narrator isn’t asking questions, he’s presented with multiple opportunities to demonstrate his knowledge, and he repeatedly eschews them.

No explanation is given. I was exhausted, and after an hour I slept more deeply.

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

Car Crash While Hitchhiking Analysis. A salesman who shared his liquor and steered while sleeping…A Cherokee filled with bourbon…A VW no more than a bubble of hashish fumes, captained by a college student… And a family from Marshalltown who head-onned and killed forever a man driving west out of Bethany, Missouri… By the time I was past the chain-link fence of the radio station and up the gravel drive and sad cement stoop of the narrow utility house I lived in the story was finished.

I had read it while walking, that language toggling between barspeak and prophecy forming a contraption full of motion and destination but mysterious in the ground it covered. Mirroring the chronological liberties of the opening paragraph, he leaps forward: I read in the lobby: By clicking “I want to print this essay” “I want to receive an essay” you agree to be contacted via email. Later, it happens again: All this Denis Johnson does in a little over a thousand words. His work has appeared in Philadelphia Stories and The Birds We Piled Looselyand his theater and book reviews can be read at phindie.


And a family from Marshalltown who head-onned and killed forever a man driving west out of Bethany, Missouri…. 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. A short story must be, by definition, short. What’s so daunting about subtext is that you can’t spell it out in the story, but if you provide the right tools, the reader will be well-equipped to dig a little deeper.

I bought the book soon after and the copy I still own is marked with the desperate symbols of a kid trying to unearth some hidden mechanism behind prose that really has more to do with poetry.

However, as many writers have no doubt discovered, this aspect of craft can be very difficult to effectively pull off effectively. I knew every raindrop by its name. I agree to receive discount coupons, exclusive offers, and the latest news by email, SMS, phone, and other electronic means. First Name First name should have at least 6 letters. Without one, there cannot be the other. Last Name Last name should have at least 6 letters. 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.

What Johnson does so well here, and other writers can emulate, is allow his character to devise a way out of the predicament, only to have the supposed escape pull him deeper into the conflict.

Consider the word “subtext” — under the text. The narrator does not express grief during these moments but he does express feelings of awe.

denus This is him, right before their car hits a sedan parked on the highway: The first two paragraphs of the story divulge the entirety of its action: The story scared me. I read in the lobby:. Posted by Noah McKenzie at