Rite of Passage Essay example

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Rite of Passage "Greasy Lake" by T.C. Boyle is a tale of one young man's quest for the "rich scent of possibility on the breeze." It was a time in a man's life when there was an almost palpable sense of destiny, as if something was about to happen, like a rite of passage that will thrust him into adulthood or cement his "badness" forever. The story opens with our narrator on a night of debauchery with his friends drinking, eating, and cruising the streets as he had done so many times in the past. What he found on that night of violence and mayhem would force him to look at himself hard. This is a story of one man's journey from boyhood to maturity. The story is short and relies on a simple plot, involving violence and a series of…show more content…
Not only is he beaten, but now his mother's car is beaten too. As he turns his attention back to the thing bobbing in the water he grasps the fact that he is probably better off, " Then I thought of the dead man. He was probably the only person on the planet worse off than I was."(149) The tension this young man feels comes from his internal struggle to come to terms with what he is and what he is destined to become. The emphasis on his "badness" suggests that he is insecure in himself. The thorough thrashing he receives from "Greasy Character" is representational of the lack of control he has over his life. A truly bad man with greasy jeans has come to teach him there are consequences for the things he does. The narrator is both protagonist and antagonist because the main conflict is an internal one. The "bad greasy character" is flat and stereotypical as a dense, bad dude looking for trouble with his fists. The supporting characters, Digby, Jeff, and the girlfriend of "Greasy Character" are flat and static as are the two blonds and the hot-rodder who arrived like a knight in shiny Trans-Am. All that's left are the party girls and, of course, Al, the dead guy in the lake. While these characters are all flat and static they still contribute to the action and atmosphere of the story. All the characters are typical except for the narrator who is round, developed and dynamic. He changes from a 19 year- old boy to the older, wiser

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