"Greasy Lake" and Its Many Historical References

1584 WordsDec 9, 20097 Pages
“Greasy Lake” and its Many Historical References In T. Coraghessan Boyle’s short story “Greasy Lake,” there are many subtle historical references. These references pertain to different events that were happening during the time period that the story takes place, and help to describe different parts of the plot. Casual readers may not even notice these interesting little bits of information, but upon paying closer attention; they would become aware of the small, almost unnecessary references that make this story so fascinating. T. C. Boyle uses many military and political terms from the Vietnam War to describe events in the story. In “Greasy Lake,” T.C. Boyle describes the mistake that worsened the situation ten fold: The first…show more content…
Boyle also uses the term “air blitz” when he illustrates the scene of the early morning of Greasy Lake in the aftermath of the fight. “I was circling the car, as dazed and bedraggled as the sole survivor of an air blitz, when Digby and Jeff emerged from the trees behind me.”(Gioia 150) A blitz is “any swift, vigorous attack, barrage, or defeat….” (“Blitz”) It is obvious why the narrator would feel like he had just endured a blitz. He had just narrowly escaped a beating that could possibly have killed him. Other terms used in the story are guerrilla and commando. Boyle used these words when discussing the topic of crawling across the ground. “I inched forward, elbows and knees, my belly pressed to the muck, thinking of guerrillas and commandos and The Naked and the Dead” (149). 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

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