The nature of life reveals, through its dark accidents, the limitations on being bad in order to be viewed as hip or cool and that there always will be someone who is worse than you. This is the lesson that the narrator learns in T.C. Boyle's "Greasy Lake" through a series of accidents as a result of his recklessness. The narrator, in the beginning of the story, believed himself and his friends to be dangerous characters and that "it was good to be bad, when you cultivated decadence like a taste." However, painful lessons were learned that reveals to the narrator that there will be a price to pay in trying to appear bad. It also goes to show him that there are limits to how far he is willing to go and not care about …show more content…
The narrator himself believed his friends to be dangerous because they were quick, slick, and could do something like drive "a Ford with lousy shocks over a rutted and gutted blacktop road at eighty-five while rolling a joint as compact as a Tootsie Roll Pop stick." It was nature to them to indulge their hedonistic desires as they howled at the stars, cranked the music to full blast, threw rotten eggs at hitchhikers and mail boxes, as they said a farewell to their sobriety. They wanted to be hip and to be hip they had to appear to be bad. And they were bad, that is until nature plays a twist on them when they make the error of enraging a greasy looking character that happens to be far worse than the three boys. Thus setting off a series of catastrophic events that shatters the narrator's long held romantic notion of being a bad character, a greasy character. The narrator, in keeping his bad character appearance, acted impulsively with little regard of the consequences but does find out that what he does can turn around on him, even if he wasn't at fault and did not deserve to be the one on the receiving end. Nevertheless, he made the choice to make a joke and surprised the wrong person in the wrong car, a greasy character who may have thought those three boys to be looking for a fight or perhaps intending to do far worse things. Compounded with the fact that his fling with a girl was interrupted, the greasy
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Aristotle once theorized, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” The book, “The Color of Water” describes the lives of James and Ruth McBride and their journeys to find this happiness. Both of these characters, among other characters in the book struggled for the majority of their lives with the issues of race. They felt as if they were caught between two different worlds; the world of blacks and the world of whites. These struggles left all of the characters feeling forlorn. In McBride’s memoir it is made clear that in order to find happiness, the characters must first be able to confront and then overcome the racial divisions that were so prominent in their lives.
In this book, everyone was part of a gang and everyone looked at each other as either a Soc ,or a Greaser. Johnny, who has been abusively beaten while getting jumped and from his own father at home, and Pony save children from a burning house. No one would expect the hoodlums to risk their lives to save children. They have a reputation for doing illegal things and getting arrested. However, newspapers have stories on the two and labelled them as “heroes”. Dally, who was the toughest and baddest of all the Greasers, kills himself. The true reason behind this was because after going to the hospital to visit Johnny, he witnessed watching him die right in front of his eyes. Johnny’s death makes him rob a store and having the police intentionally kill him. The only thing that he loved was Johnny and his beloved thing was gone. This shows that Dally, even though he’s a Greaser and does all these horrible things, has feelings. Even people who genuinely knew him, labelled him as having no feelings. Also, Randy, who is a soc, talks to Pony about Bob and how he was just a regular guy who had his own problems. The only reason that Bob would act out and drink a lot was because his parents would never set boundaries. He just wanted for someone to tell him “No”. Cherry Valance, who was Bob’s girlfriend, even said that he was actually sweet. This shows that people are individuals and that labels don’t say who you
The children yelled "We've had an ACCIDENT!" and the reader is not sure what will happen next. Shortly after the accident, when the "big black battered hearse-like automobile" pulls up to assist the family and the grandmother recognizes one of the occupants as the Misfit, the tone
It is ironic that not only is the lake named Greasy Lake, but the individuals who hang out there are also referred to as being greasy characters as well. The 3 main characters find themselves surrounded by “dangerous” characters, and get stuck in the middle of a huge fight. As if things aren’t bad enough, the main characters then attempt to rape a girl that is with the man they just fought. Very soon after more people show up ready to join in the deviant behavior, all while in the presence of this dirty, disgusting lake. “I’d struck down one greasy character, and blundered into the waterlogged carcass of a second” (128). No matter what the main characters do, or how they react to the conflicts presented, they constantly find themselves in the presence of more greasy characters at the greasy lake.
The entire story centers around three main characters: Uncle trash and the two brothers. Although the boys’ mother and father are mentioned briefly in the beginning, the mother comes off as unstable and out of her right mind, causing her to run away and the father going after her, both leaving the kids behind not taking into consideration that they are too young for the responsibility of independence, much less their living conditions are barely enough to support a decent quality of life. Despite Uncle Trash being given the responsibility to look after the boys, he’s not necessarily one to care for much of what goes on outside of a bar, especially the boys well being since upon his arrival his first
The discovery of the biker’s body is the turning point in not only the story, but also in the narrator’s life. In a short time, he has been beaten, has knocked out someone with a tire iron, almost raped a woman, found a dead body, and watched his mother’s Bel Air station wagon be destroyed. Which was all done for the rush of excitement. While hiding in the water that was previously seen as a tarn of doom, with all the nights occurrences spinning in his head, he has an epiphany. Standing there he realizes what becomes of “tough-guys” and discovers that he has found his salvation within his true self. Accordingly, as the narrator emerges from Greasy Lake, he is a new person with a newly discovered perspective. As the sun is rising and the songs of birds replace the sounds of crickets, he leaves the pool of once dismal waters (Boyle 118). This signals his rebirth and his baptism as a reformed adolescent.
T.C. Boyle also uses many references from literature, music, and movies that were popular during the time the story takes place. In the beginning of the story, the narrator explains how he and his friends are “dangerous characters” (144). He says “We were nineteen. We were bad. We read Andre Gide and struck elaborate poses to show that we didn’t give a shit about anything. At night we went up to Greasy Lake” (144). Andre Gide was a “controversial French writer whose novels…often show individuals in conflict with accepted morality” (144). “Gide’s work can be seen as an investigation of freedom and empowerment…” (“Andre Gide”) It is interesting that the characters in the story
In the Lake of the Woods is a fictional mystery written by Tim O'Brien. Through the book we learn that our lovers, husbands, and wives have qualities beyond what our eyes can see. John Wade and Kathy are in a marriage so obscure that their secrets lead to an emotional downfall. After John Wade loss in his Senatorial Campaign, his feeling towards Kathy take on a whole different outlook. His compulsive and obsessive behavior causes Kathy to distance herself from him. His war experience and emotional trauma are a major cause for his strange behavior. We remain pondering about Kathy's mysterious disappearance, which becomes fatal for her. Possible scenarios are presented in eight
Greasy Lake is the story of three friends who are bad characters. Until they run into a situation where they question, just how bad they are. Just because they act badly and look bad does not mean they are. They are teenagers in a period, “when courtesy and winning ways [are] out of style when it [is] good to be bad, when they [cultivate] decadence like a taste.” (112) They look bad, wearing torn-up leather jackets, slouching around with toothpicks in their mouths and wearing their shades morning, noon and night. They have the attitude, they drive their parents cars fast, and burn rubber as the pull out of the driveway. They have the bad habits. They drink “gin and grape juice, Tango, Thunderbird, and Bali Hai,
James McBride's memoir, The Color of Water, demonstrates a man's search for identity and a sense of self that derives from his multiracial family. His white mother, Ruth's abusive childhood as a Jew led her to search for acceptance in the African American community, where she made her large family from the two men she marries. James defines his identity by truth of his mother's pain and exceptionality, through the family she creates and the life she leaves behind. As a boy, James questions his unique family and color through his confusion of issues of race. Later in his life, as an adolescent, his racial perplexity results in James hiding from his emotions, relying only on the anger he felt against the
“Greasy Lake is a short story written by T.C Boyle. The short story mostly focuses on three nineteen-year-old boys. The three of the boys went one night on a summer vacation in an area close to a shiny and muddy lake. The teenagers were looking for trouble on a summer evening and end of finding it. In the story at the author tells the reader, that it was a time when it was "good to be bad." But the story shows that the three boys are truly lost. The story shows the reader the changing of time in culture that these teenagers want to be a part of. Even though, they lack to leave the comforts of their upper middle class lifestyle.
The characters in “Greasy Lake” can be viewed in different lights. The narrator and his two friends, Digby and Jeff, are three mean boys whose lives seem to be centered around getting drunk and high from dusk until dawn. The narrator praises Digby and Jeff for their slick and dangerous lifestyles. Their skills consist of dancing, drinking, and “rolling a joint as compact as a Tootsie Roll Pop stick” (65) while on a bumpy drive. These characters scream trouble. They seem like harmless teenagers out to have a good time but it can be interpreted that these characters will attract mischief. After a night of bar-hopping, dancing, eating, drinking, and smoking, they decide to continue the party with a bottle of gin on the shores of broken glass and charred wood. These characters can be interpreted as young, naive, wild, reckless fools. The decisions these kids have been making the entire night have not been good ones. They have driven to bar after bar, consuming drink after drink. Obviously, their decision making is impaired. The reader should realize that the road the boys are travelling on is one that leads to a bad place. It is a place that has everything to do with Greasy Lake. It’s a place where dangerous things happen. The allegorical element that is found in the boys is
Additionally we see his rebelliousness, targeted at what he views as a life that is normal and boring. He rebels by dressing in punk style clothes, paid for by his parents.he read’s book’s by author such as André Gide (Boyle, 115) who was noted for works that explored conflict and rebellion. His behaviors and those of his friends are used to set themself’s outside of society , to be perceived as rebels .With their use of drugs ,drinking, cruising all night long and gliding off to the hoped for glory of Greasy Lake.They strike a pose of teenage rebellion ,all paid for by their parents. By being” expert in the social graces” (Boyle, 115) they are “slick and quick” (Boyle, 115) in an rebellious stand against what their parents want for them
In his short story “Greasy Lake,” the lake with the community teenagers create a stereotypical scene of current youth pop culture. Many youth who read this story can find the ironic references and similarities with their lifestyle in today’s world. T. Coraghessan Boyle uses the setting of the story to expose a world lacking self-discipline and showing immorality amongst a community youth, which can sometimes be rather common today. This also aids in creating an atmosphere that surrounds suspense and impaired judgement to better develop the characters of the story. Boyle is able to achieve this by creating a setting with the story of the Greasy Lake and describing the Lake as both a setting and main character.