The Accident takes place in the middle of twentieth century New York in the inner city. It was written in 1962. Elie Wiesel, the author of this book, was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania. The story opens in Times Square in the heat of July and continues through the city. When the main character, who remains nameless, is hit by a taxi, he is taken to a hospital where the setting takes place for a good portion of the book. The book centers around the modern era because the story exhibits modern day technology. For example, the city of New York is busy with taxis and several movie theatres on just one street. The life appears to move at a quick pace like today. There are two main characters in The Accident. The first is the narrator, and he is a man in his thirties who writes cables.
Kathleen, the woman who is in love with the narrator, is about the same age, but she has a "quality of saintliness" (Wiesel 213). She is outgoing and focuses her life around love.
The major conflict is man versus himself. The narrator has a difficult time loving Kathleen even though he knows he truly does love her. He also has a terrible time trying to move on with his life because he is constantly having flashbacks of his younger days. He is unable to forget the past when he was poor without food, and he thinks of the horrible betrayals he had to go through just to receive a piece of something to eat. Without an outlet for all his memories of horror, he constantly has flashbacks of his childhood.