Rest Stop by Stephen King, 2003
The magic trick:
Changing narrative point of view midway through the story to enhance the theme of identity
The protagonist considers himself a split personality from the very first sentence – divided by his given name/regular life and his pen name/exciting writing life. King takes this split to another level by changing the narrative point of view midway through the story. The first half is told from Dykstra’s perspective, almost entirely inside his thoughts. Then as he takes action the point of view shifts to the third person, outside of Dykstra’s head. It’s a neat way of enhancing the story’s theme of identity. And that’s quite a trick on King’s part.
Name, name, what’s in a name?
Who, for instance, was he on his biweekly ride back to Sarasota? He was Hardin when he left the Pot o’ Gold in Jax, for sure, no doubt. And Dykstra when he let himself into his canal-side house on Macintosh Road, certainly. But who was he on Route 75, as he flowed from one town to the other beneath the bright turnpike lights? Hardin? Dykstra? No one at all?
Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.