Written in 1985, author T. Coraghessan Boyle’s “Greasy Lake” is a short story retelling a catalyst incidence that led to a mental change in a group of rebellious youths. The most critical scene where this change is most apparent surfaces after the “bad” guys left and the narrator was left plunged in the muddy river, contemplating his life and that of the corpse beside him. Through this short but intense story, Boyle has successfully integrated the elements of characterisation and setting to vividly illustrate the realization about life for the teenagers. The first to be exploited was how characterisation of the narrator and his friends in the scene has contributed to the theme of changing. The clear tactile imageries in the paragraph such …show more content…
He has arrived at a fragile state where reason is affected by intense emotions that prepares him for a complete mental change. Though for a moment he has almost returned to his old self as a rebellious youth, pondering about reckless suicides and contemplating “some sort of excuse to give to [my] parents”. However, as he fully observed the rotting corpse, the transition of emotions and thoughts was set forth to a motion of no return. In contrast to the rebellious, colloquial and vulgar tone at the beginning of the story that suggests a carefree and immature life, the voice of the narrator while sunk deep into the lake was fearful and morbid. The echoing words of “This victim of time and circumstance”, “shot”, “drowned” “dead man” reflected a genuine distress and dread. The narrator, the teenager, has now learned the true nature of “badness”, its consequences, and perhaps even his …show more content…
The instance of morning coming when the sky turned “from black to cobalt” and the trees “separate[d] themselves from the shadows” suggests a new beginning just as the teenagers trudged out from the shadows of the lake - their wrongdoings. Their mishaps are no longer noticeable, lying on the field as if “from a vanished civilization”. Their desert from “badness” have been implied in this setting as a naturally right thing, like “nature”. Moreover, the sound of bird chirping, the sight of dew on leaves, and the smell of “sun firing buds and opening blossoms”, are all symbolisms of a brand new promising start, an opportunity to rid the old selves and change for the new, like buds and blossoms and morning light breaking the dark. Although the vestige of the past is still vaguely there, “the broken glass and garbage”, “the mud and shattered glass”, the narrator and his friends have forgiven their errors and improved upon their view of life, bending and decided their future that was “no more than five feet from the open door” - “the keys”. No greater symbolism can be expressed when the narrator mentioned the “glinting” keys “like jewels in the first tapering shaft of sunlight”. These are the concluding sign that indicated the rightful directions that the youths have taken and their concluded resolve to abstain from all “badness” from
Tim Winton’s short story, ‘The Water Was Dark and it Went Forever Down’, depicts a nameless, adolescent girl who is battling the voices inside her head along with the powerful punishments at the hands of her inebriated mother. The key concerns of life and death are portrayed through the girl’s viewpoint as she compares her life with her sad, depressed mother. Anonymous as she is, the girl constantly makes an attempt to escape the outbursts, that come as a result to her mother’s drinking, by submerging herself into the water. An extended metaphor is used when expressing the girl as a machine and her will to continue surviving in her sombre life.
Nature has a powerful way of portraying good vs. bad, which parallels to the same concept intertwined with human nature. In the story “Greasy Lake” by T. Coraghessan Boyle, the author portrays this through the use of a lake by demonstrating its significance and relationship to the characters. At one time, the Greasy Lake was something of beauty and cleanliness, but then came to be the exact opposite. Through his writing, Boyle demonstrates how the setting can be a direct reflection of the characters and the experiences they encounter.
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.
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.
“The Swimmer,” a short fiction by John Cheever, presents a theme to the reader about the unavoidable changes of life. The story focuses on the round character by the name of Neddy Merrill who is in extreme denial about the reality of his life. He has lost his youth, wealth, and family yet only at the end of the story does he develop the most by experiencing a glimpse of realization on all that he has indeed lost. In the short story “The Swimmer,” John Cheever uses point of view, setting and symbolism to show the value of true relationships and the moments of life that are taken for granted.
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,
“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
Imagery, detail, and symbolism play a crucial role in this work. Imagery has the function of painting a picture of the situation in the reader’s mind so that he or she is able to develop a version of the story individually. It makes the reading a more personalized experience that helps the reader to understand what’s going on. When O’Brien was just about to escape to Canada to avoid being drafted, he described the scene that was presented in front of him. “The shoreline was dense with brush and timber. I could see tiny red berries on the bushes.” In this quote, the reader can visualize the setting of the lake where he has to make his life-changing decision. It appeals to the visual sense by describing the shoreline and even the sense of
“Greasy Lake” by T. C. Bolyle narrated from the perspective of an unnamed narrator, told as a reflective account of his youth. In the story, he recounts details of his experiences on a summer evening with two friends. The reader experiences the misadventures of the protagonist that night along as told from the viewpoint of the now mature narrators retrospective. Exposed in the story are two character traits of the protagonist. Those traits are immaturity and rebellion, along with the trait of introspection on the part of the narrator.
The characteristic of slow work repeats in the two types of stories told by Fr. Boyle. The one that grabs the readers’ attention more describes the lives of people in detail and with resolution. Whether the youth he met ends up going to a jail or finds a job and a home in Homeboy Industries, we know to an extent what their stories are. We can understand and imagine the lives of the youth from childhood, the problems they faced, the way they went about handling them, and what Fr. Boyle thought and did during those times. The other type consists of brief mentions of the people Fr. Boyle ran into. He can only tell us what happened and what he hoped at the time, but we are left without fuller stories of the people. These unsatisfying accounts, however, are proof of the author’s intention for writing this book. We are not supposed to read about the lives and, really, the challenging situations of the youth and attempt to find solutions. Especially as a stereotypical student studying at Georgetown University, I tend to think I need to fix the problem and make the world a better place. But the purpose of the book is really to teach me to have compassion. So, the readers can notice from the two types of stories Fr. Boyle
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.
Many teenager yearn to be a part of adulthood. They want the freedom that comes with the ability to make their own decisions and not have to worry about what their parents think. One way young people try to show their parents and to the world that they should be admitted in to the adulthood world is making decisions that go against their parents advice. In the story Greasy Lake, T. Coraghessan portrays three teenagers now in college trying to show the world that they make the own decisions and that they are “bad.” The meaning of being “bad” in this story is not like being defective or like being bad at tests.
In many of the works read in this quarter, there was a deeper meaning to the story that the author would convey to the reader through various morally based or meaningful points and sections. This is most evident in the works of Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, and Tim O’Brien. In all of their works, these writers each leave the reader with an important value and a little more understanding on the complexity of human nature and of life itself. Ranging in levels of subtlety and truth, the message sent is familiar and revealing. One might want to ponder these truths alone, as Ernest Hemingway’s main character does in his story, The Old man and the Sea.