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Mental Change In Greasy Lake By T. Coraghessan Boyle

Decent Essays
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
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