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Greasy Lake

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Narrator Analysis of Greasy Lake

Although there are numerous things we do not know about the narrator of Greasy Lake, we do know that he is not the bad character he thinks he is. As the story begins, the narrator, who is the main character, gives the impression he knows they are not really the scoundrels they think they are, but still try to act like it. He suggests that he has just graduated high school, where he probably was the one of the "bad" characters. However, in the real world the narrator has no idea what "bad" means, until his "badness" is put to the test against someone worse.

The narrator utilizes various symbols to prove his point. For example, in the beginning of the story, the narrator describes the car he drove to Greasy Lake as an old station wagon, which is not the "ride" of a true bad character. Another example is the belief he is a bad character because he and his friends "wore torn-up leather jackets, slouched around with toothpicks in our mouths, sniffed glue and ether and what somebody claimed was cocaine". He also labels his friends as bad because Digby wore a star earring and "allowed" his father to pay his tuition to Cornell and Jeff was thinking of quitting school to become a painter/musician/head shop proprietor. The last example is the dangerous area of Greasy Lake itself. Fetid and murky, the banks glittering with broken glass and strewn with beer cans display the habitat that only the bad would roam. It is a clue of the nonexistence of good, as the narrator initially conceives when he seeks asylum in the lake.

In one short evening, he had the tar beaten out of him; he hit someone in the head with a tire iron; he nearly raped a woman; he found the biker's body and he watched his mother's station wagon being destroyed, all because he thought he was a bad character. The exposure of the biker's



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