Greasy Lake by T. Coraghessan Boyle - Literary Analysis Essay

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592 words
Boston College
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The plot of the story illustrates the struggles of identity that three young men are experiencing to fit in the society or rather find their place in the society. One of the main points is that the boys can be perceived to be in transition from childhood to maturity by which they shift from innocence to life experience in regards to their social lives. They associate themselves with heroes found in films and books whereby they identify with them. A good example is one of them associating with Bruce Lee when engaged in a fight. The association makes them place themselves in Greasy Lake; a place that can be perceived to be their baptismal. The narrator, who is unnamed, mentions aspects of drug abuse, disobedience, drunk driving and engaging in the arrogant behavior.

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Reaction to the Narrator as a reader

At the beginning of the narration, the narrator appears to be mischievous, proud and of bad character. His friends and he appear to lead stress-free lives by which they do not adhere to societal norms and spend most of their term being bad. The narrator illustrates a situation by which the boys kept themselves busy being bad such that most of the nights they spend away from their homes. He states, The first two nights wed been out till dawn, looking for something we never found. On this, the third night, wed cruised the strip sixty-seven times, been in and out of every bar and club we could think of in a twenty-mile radius, (Boyle 688). However, at the end of the narration, the narrator appears to be a young man who is in need of a good home and affection instead of being bad. The baptismal at the greasy lake that takes place after the boys engage in a fight with one of the residents and coming across a corpse makes the boy think twice about their behavior. They even refuse to take drugs being offered by some girls they met while leaving the greasy lake.

Response on This was Nature

This was nature referred to the greasy lake by which the narrator explains that it was quite popular to the locals and that they his friends and him headed there to snuff the rich scent of possibility on the breeze, watch a girl take off her clothes and plunge into the festering murk (Boyle 688). Therefore, at the beginning of the story, the lake was a place that the boys could spend their time while engaging in their bad activities. However, at the end of the story, the lake was no longer a place for evening relaxation but a dawn to another direction of life. The narrator describes the dawn as he picks himself up from mud and looking at his car that was a wreck.

How distance affects tone of story

The distance in the story whereby the narrator uses past tense to present a reflective nature of the story. A reader is able to reflect with the expectation on how the story will end in addition to flowing with the changes in events. Is the story was written using the present tense, it would present the immediacy of events by which the narrator presents the story as it takes place while in the past tense, the narrator retells a story to the audience. A story presented in past tense tends to be more realistic when compared to a story illustrating events as they occur.

Work Cited

Boyle, T.C. Greasy Lake. New York: Penguin Publishing Group, 1986. Print.

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