“Accident” is a short story writtenby Dave Eggers describing the scene of a car accident between the narrator ofthe story and three teenagers. The story is told from the 2nd person point ofview as the word “you” is used often, for example, “You have done himand his friends harm, in a way, and you jeopardized their health, and now youare so close you feel like you share a heart.” By using the word”you” Egger allows the reader to step into the shoes of the narratorand give them the opportunity to get a feel of how it is to get into a caraccident and judge the situation from the perspective of the person who causedthe accident. Thenarrator’s attitude towards the accident shift from the beginning of the storyto the end. The narrator’s initial response was, “The accident was yourfault, and you walk over to tell them this.” After admitting his faults,the story circles around the fear of approaching the teenagers and how theywould react. In his mind, he thought the complete worse about the situation bysaying, “They have every right to be upset, or livid, or evenviolence-contemplating”.
His overthinking led him to believe that theteenagers were going to harm him in some way for causing the accident,therefore, before approaching the teenagers the narrator began to talk down onhimself by saying “You are a bad person, you think.”, to justify theteenagers’ actions if they were to harm them.Throughouta majority of the story, the narrator’s thoughts and action can be viewed asrelatable because he feels what most people would feel when in a situation suchas a car accident. Like any other person who gets into an accident he thinks theworse because car accidents bring out the worse in people. Unlike others, headmitted to being wrong meaning he did it on purpose and was fully aware ofwhat he was doing.
The statement, “You pulled into an intersection,obstructing them, and their car hit yours,” shows that it was in fact noaccident. Afterapproaching the teenagers, the interaction did not go as expected. The driver,although he bought the car that same day, was very understanding and did notcause a scene. As the conversation continued the narrator and the threeteenagers grew friendly and the narrator was ever so thankful that some goodcame out of the situation. Based on the short story, it is evident thatthe narrator lives alone, and doesn’t have any family or friends, as thenarrator stated, “You all get out of your cars. You are alone inyours…”. The narrator is so lonely to the point that he’ll go to themeasure of causing a car accident just to have some form of human contact, butwhen he does have some form of human contact he’s thankful whether good or bad.
Thefinal paragraphs of the story show that the narrator is longing for human contact,the statement “…you are so lonely, so lonely always, and all contact iscontact, and all contact makes us so grateful we want to cry and dance and cryand cry”, proves this point. The reader can assume that he feels close to theseboys after just a small display of kindness because he’s lacking these thingsin his everyday life. Clearly, the narrator is grateful for the encounter withthe teenagers because in a matter of a few minutes they showed him attentionand understanding which he does not receive on a daily. Inaddition, the narrator overthinks everything and does not try to find thebrighter side of the situation. He automatically assumes the worse becausethat’s what he’s used to, things not going well or as planned.
The narrator wasexpected to get physically or verbally harmed for his decision but in the end,the altercation took a turn for the better. The interaction opened his eyes andmade him realized that good can come out of a bad situation. “In a moment ofclarity, you finally understand why boxers, who want so badly to hurt eachother, can rest their heads on the shoulders of their opponents.”