Prof. Brian Bradford
ENG 141 U2
5 April 2018
Greasy Lake Analysis
“A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.” I chose this quote because the lake is a placid and motionless place. The beauty of it is defined by placidity. The emotions are impenetrable due to our busy life, get suspended. As you pass a cool and calm lake and spend time with it, the feelings which were once suspended, seem to get back to us, in fragments and recesses. This essay will analyze T. Coraghessan Boyle Greasy Lake. It will employ a literary analysis that focuses on symbolism.
On the surface T. Coraghessan Boyle, Greasy Lake is nothing more than a story about the loss of innocence. The story takes place northeast, around the 70’s, the 80’s. The principal characters include a narrator, Digby, and Jeff who were out for a night of fun. The story begins when the narrator Digby and Jeff go up to the greasy lake. They see someone they think they know car it is actually Bobby. The narrator drops his keys and then starts fighting. They hit Bobby with a tire iron. The fox comes out and they want to rape her, but they don’t. When they try hiding in the lake they see the body floating. The 3 reconvened the car. Towards the end 2 girls show up drunk, looking for Al.
The narrator describes the boys as dangerous, rebellious and bad. Throughout the story, there are symbols that deplete their tough guy image that they believe they have. For example, there are several vehicles that are brought up. In the beginning the narrator describes driving to the greasy lake in his mothers Bel Air car, they saw a “57 Chevy mint, metallic blue” (126) who they thought was their friend Tony but in reality, it was another character that was considered to be “very bad.” He says, “on the far side of the lot, like the exoskeleton of some gaunt chrome insect, a chopper leaned against its kickstand.” (126) Motorcycles are symbolized as an automobile that bad boys drive.
The narrator grabs the tire iron out of the car from under the seat when the fight is about to happen. He says that “bad characters always keep tire irons under the driver’s seat, just for occasions like this.” Saying this makes the readers think he is bad always getting into fights and making it seem as if this is something that happens often. Then it says “I’d never touched the tire iron exactly twice before, to change tires…” this indicates that he isn’t as bad as he wants to sound because he only used it to change tires.
After the fight when they believed he was dead, Fox came out screaming and right before the boys tried to pin her down and rape her ” our eyes masked with lust and greed and the purest primal badness, a pair of headlights swung into the parking lot…” lust and greed could be a symbol of being bad especially when they have no care and would rape a girl because they want to. Once the cars showed up the boys ran and this indicates that they aren’t bad and are scared because they just lost their innocence when they killed a guy. After their retreat to the woods, the narrator car is demolished and trashed by the angry men. The demolition of the car is a symbol of how weak and vulnerable he is. He runs into the water and sees “red-eyed turtles splashing off into the night” symbolizing that evil things are happening. The “moon burnished ripples” is a change is about to happen, “algae that clung to the surface like scabs” is a healing process beginning.
While escaping the dead body they saw in the lake, he gets the image of “reeking frogs and muskrats revolving in slicks of their own deliquescing juices.” This represents the struggles they are now facing. He mentions that he has only ever been in one fight and the tire iron is being used against him with the frat boys vandalizing the car. Emerging from the water, he says “my jacket heavy as a bear” which symbolizes that he is holding a weight of the world on his shoulders from the events that occurred that night at the greasy lake. As a final point, no true bad boy that is dark on the inside and out will have a weight on their shoulders and feel scared.
In the final analysis,