The Unreliable Narrator: Analysis of the Emergence of the Story
The fictional and adventurous story, Emergency, is written by Denis Johnson in the first person and an unreliable form of narrative. During this stimulating and fictional tale, Dennis Johnson emphasizes the confessional nature as one that lacks credibility. The lack of such credibility comes in the form of: unreliability, incomplete information, and hallucinations, which sometimes stem from drug use, childhood immaturity, lies, deception, mistakes, or even manipulation.
ZZ Packer states in one of his analyzes titled, A Conversation on Writing, “The power of the first-person point of view … is a confessional narrative voice” (Delbanco184). He continues his analysis by summarizing said narrative as based on: lack of reliability, ignorance, personal prejudice, intentional deception and even insanity that exists in the narrative of the unreliable narrator (196). For example, in the fictional story Emergency; Johnson begins with, “I had been working in the ER for about three weeks, I guess” (Creative Writing 272). He continues: “I started wondering … coronary care … cafeteria … looking for Georgie … she often stole pills from cupboards” (272). The confessional nature of the first-person “I” is obvious in this unreliable narrative point of view as the story develops the relationship with Georgie and the unreliable narrator.
Additionally, the incomplete nature of the unreliable narrator is associated with symbolic drug use and / or abuse. The narrator says: “… Georgie, the orderly, [is] a very good friend of mine; he often stole pills from cupboards. “(272) This example shows the unreliable character’s lack of confidence and self-interest in the first-person narrative. The story continues with:” Let me check your pockets, man … I found his stash “(Page 273). Furthermore, the confessional nature of the story indicates:” I stood … chewing more of Georgie’s pills. Some tasted the smell of urine, some burned, some tasted like chalk “(page 274). There is a variety of stimulant drug use and abuse in this narrative. It could be argued that drug use results in inconsistent and inconsistent statements. incomplete accounts of the narrator and cast great doubt on the credibility of the first-person cognitive thought pattern, which operates in an altered state of consciousness.
Most importantly, the doctors and nurses were unable to find a suitable treatment plan for Terrence Weber, the patient who entered the ER with a knife to his eye and alleged that his wife stabbed him in his sleep for looking at the lady. . sunbathe next door. When Georgie finished disinfecting the patient, he returned with a hunting knife in hand.
Apparently, Georgie had removed the knife from Weber’s eye without realizing the impact of his actions. The most the doctor had to say was, “Where did you get that from?” Also, a nurse said after a while: “Your shoelace is untied.” This gave Georgie time to put the knife down as she tied her shoelaces without having a clue what was happening (page 275).
Next, the altered state of consciousness based on the unreliable narrator is obvious in this dialogue, “Do you realize it’s going to snow? He was right; a blue storm was building. We went out and walked idiots … the freshness and the taste of everything green that stabs us “(page 277). The hallucination effects of the pills are obvious in this dialogue. Also, while stumbling across a military cemetery, the characters now looking up at the sky saw angels descending with huge faces sprinkled with light and filled with pity, causing Georgie to spread her arms and shout, “It’s the drive-in! … They’re showing movies in a … blizzard. ” Georgie screamed. “I see, I thought it was something else” (page 278).
Based on the narrative, the setting for the story is in summer and not winter; However, the dialogue between Georgie and the unreliable first-person narrator changes to winter based on the analysis of the hallucinatory impact of the pills they are eating, showing a character flaw and an altered state of consciousness from drugs. Obviously, there is a lack of alignment with reality and the narrator’s state of mind with nature. The lack of reliability reflected in the judgment and dialogue that highlights the infantile immaturity in the information about the current climatic condition, shows the lack of cognitive interpretation and faulty memory, therefore, it develops unreliable!
Based on this narrative, one must ask the question: “What story will Wilson’s wife receive from the unreliable narrator about her husband’s treatment in the Intensive Care Unit?”